John’s trip to was almost over when a marvellous thing happened. On his forth and final day, the famous fog of these Northern California valleys finally arrived to pay him a visit.
These conditions are valued locally for the effect on one variety especially. Under a thick bank of morning fog, the Chardonnay grape’s more neutral flavours ripen more slowly, reaching a fuller body while developing unusually rich and complex flavours.
The day’s travel would take John to the opposite kind of geography, however, as he climbed from the Sonoma valley floor to the wild elevations of the Alexander Mountain Estate.
Covering almost an entire mountain, the estate was an Exxon holding before being purchased entire by Stonestreet. Exploiting barren climes of various altitudes and aspects, it is Stonestreet’s single-site Chardonnays that are most sought after.
Produced only with special equipement and at considerable risk — from wild animals as much as dangerous terrain — the Upper Barn Chardonnay particularly impressed John. With long-ripened heft inhabited by deep citrus-hazelnut nuances, this compelling super-structure also “danced on a fine pin” of lacy mineral acidity.
Before rounding out his busy trip to the USA, John made a quick visit up the coast to Oregon. Here in the elevated reaches of the Willamette Valley lies the Yamhill-Calton AVA, where cooler temperatures, varied aspects and glacial soils provide one of America and the world’s finest locations for premium examples of Burgundy-styled wines.
The Resonoance vineyard is one of the oldest in Oregon, having been planted in the 1980s. In 2013 it was settled on as what would be the first American holding by the important Burgundy negociant Louis Jadot.
Such a fine prospect was Resonance that Jadot’s head winemaker of 42 years, Jacques Lardière, personally emigrated to oversee operations here. The result is a perfect balance of Orgeon lushness with Continental poise and refinement.
It was a marvellous American trip for John, and everything was very much to his liking. With many of these wines recently arrived, now is a great time to join him in this exploration of one of the world’s most dynamic and in-demand wine cultures.
To see our new American imports, click here.