2006 Rochioli Vineyards "Sweetwater Vineyard" Chardonnay

SKU #1063254 93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Light gold color. Suave and understated, with a sexy bouquet of tangerine, white flowers, minerals and mace. Juicy citrus and orchard fruit flavors offer excellent clarity and mineral snap, picking up zesty spices with air. A silky, elegant wine, with outstanding finishing clarity and persistence. This vineyard is planted to the Wente clone, from cuttings that Rochioli got from Kistler.  (5/2008)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The newest single vineyard offering, the 2006 Chardonnay Sweetwater Vineyard, emerges from a spectacular hillside site planted with an Old Wente clone. It displays a distinctive minerality along with superb notes of white fruits, cold steel, citrus oils, and spring flowers. Reminiscent of a Chevalier-Montrachet from Burgundy, this beautiful, long, concentrated Chardonnay with great acidity should last for 6-10 years.  (12/2007)

92 points Wine Spectator

 A rich, fruity, concentrated style, with smoky fig, apricot, honey and butterscotch flavors that are full-bodied and long and persistent on the finish.  (9/2008)

K&L Notes

The Rochioli Vineyard is situated in a very diverse part of the Russian River Valley. Joe Jr. and Tom both believe key factors in growing superb grapes come from the diversity in the soil types, the vineyards’ proximity to the ocean, as well as the contours of the valley, allowing for morning fog and cool evening breezes. Today, the vineyard is divided into several unique blocks, each planted with numerous clones. In the 1990s, Rochioli Winery released wines from five blocks, each displaying distinct characteristics. At that point the Rochioli’s established the Russian River Valley as a petite Côte-d'Or with the ability to produce terroir-driven wines. Because of the diverse terroir across their 140 acres in production, Tom ferments each block separately. While this is a common practice in Burgundy, Rochioli was one of the first in the area to introduce a micro-batch process. He believes in being able to taste unique differences between the diverse soil and clonal diversity that typifies the Russian River estate. Tom closely follows a traditional “hands off” approach to winemaking.

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Price: $69.99
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- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Alexander Valley/Russian River

- Among Sonoma County's northernmost appellations, the Alexander Valley AVA acts as a gateway to neighboring Napa to the east and Mendocino to the north. It is a sprawling appellation, with pockets of distinct microclimates and soils, and as such, is home to a variety of wine grapes and styles. Nearly everything grows in the Alexander Valley, though Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are the most widely planted grapes. The Russian River Valley lies to the south of Alexander Valley, and is marked by much cooler temperatures and frequently heavy fog. The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown here are some of the state's finest and most sought-after. Aromatic whites like Gewürztraminer and Riesling can also be successful, and sparkling wine production has a long history in the area.