2016 Amapola Creek "Jos. Belli Vineyard" Russian River Valley Chardonnay

SKU #1339255 95 points Jeb Dunnuck

 The 2016 Chardonnay Jos. Belli Vineyards is beautiful. Exotic flowers, lychee, white peach, and a hint of honeysuckle give way to a medium-bodied, beautifully balanced, elegant and silky Chardonnay that has good acidity as well as texture. Aged 11 months in new and neutral barrels, drink it over the coming 4-5 years.  (6/2018)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2016 Chardonnay Jos. Belli Vineyards is a little closed on the nose, offering pretty grapefruit, lime blossom and Bosc pear scents with nuances of allspice, baking bread and toasted almonds. Medium to full-bodied, it fills the mouth with citrus and pear layers, framed by great freshness and finishing long and savory. (LPB)  (6/2018)

K&L Notes

Amapola Creek is the home winery of Richard Arrowood, which he founded after moving on from his eponymous winery, Arrowood Vineyards, and is located a little further down the road in the foothills of the Mayacamas, just below the famed Monte Rosso vineyard. More Robert Parker, from his 2016 review of the Amapola lineup: "It’s hard to believe that Dick Arrowood, who starred at Château St. Jean in the 1970s, has logged 50 years of winemaking in Northern California, primarily in Sonoma. He pretty much put Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese-styled Rieslings on the map, developed an ambitious program at Château St. Jean for single vineyard Chardonnays, and gets little credit as one of the early pioneers and believers in the Rhône Ranger movement. I had a chance to taste with him at his winery just north of Sonoma, and there’s no resting on his laurels, even after a career that started in 1965 and continues 50+ years later."

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Price: $36.99
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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.