2012 Williams-Selyem "Drake Estate Vineyard" Russian River Valley Chardonnay (Previously $100)

SKU #1174346 96 points Wine Enthusiast

 Those who think they prefer anything but Chardonnay may be convinced otherwise with this wine. It is so powerfully evocative in crisply rendered Meyer lemon and tangerine notes, with aromas of fresh white flowers teasing provocatively on the nose. Seamless and seductively bright in acidity, it glides down the palate, hinting at a richness that never becomes overdone. (VB)  (4/2015)

93 points Vinous

 Green-tinged gold. Vibrant, mineral-accented scents of pear, tangerine and lemon zest, with a hint of iodine in the background. Dry, nervy and precise but showing very good concentration to its orchard and citrus fruit flavors. The mineral quality repeats emphatically on the spicy, focused, very long finish. (ST)  (5/2014)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Lots of orange blossom, caramelized citrus, guava and mango aromas jump from the glass of the 2012 Chardonnay Drake Estate Vineyard. Beautiful concentration, terrific acidity and no noticeable oak suggest this medium to full-bodied Chardonnay should drink well for 5-6 years. (RP)  (12/2014)

91 points Wine Spectator

 Zippy acidity keeps the flavors dancing in this sleek, stylish Chardonnay. Elegant and deftly balanced, offering subtle nutmeg, cedar, green apple and green pineapple flavors, giving this just enough depth and complexity to maintain interest. Drink now through 2020. (JL)  (7/2015)

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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.