EXCEPTIONAL WINE - A World-Class Vineyard
Lately it seems that each 2007 California wine that we taste reaffirms the fact that this was a sensational vintage, for seemingly every region and every variety. Today we turn to a 2007 Chardonnay from Sand Hill Wines, from the folks who actually own Durell Vineyard, only one of California’s greatest Chardonnay vineyards. After watching wineries like Kistler garner hugely favorable reviews for their Durell Vineyard Chardonnay, it was only natural for vineyard owner Ellie Phipps Price and vineyard manager Steve Hill to begin making wine under their own label, Sand Hill. We are thrilled to have been able to secure a small allocation of their 2007 Chardonnay, which aptly shows the magnificence of this superb vineyard.
The 2007 Sand Hill Wines Durell Vineyard Chardonnay is medium gold in color. The nose shows aromas of peach and cantaloupe, typical of Chardonnay, along with an enticing floral, even rose-petal aroma that seems to be particular to the Durell Vineyard—a lovely expression of this vineyard’s unique character. The palate is full, intense, and rich with apple, cinnamon, and baking spice. Fermentation and aging in French oak, along with plenty of lees stirring rounds out the palate, while good acidity keeps it in balance. This is a lovely glass of wine on its own, but it is elevated to an even higher level with a sharp, salty cheese like Asiago or Parmesan. With Durell Vineyard Chardonnays commanding as much as $75, this is an amazing opportunity to try this world-class vineyard for just $32!
Appellation: Sonoma Valley
Vineyard: Durell Vineyard
Sand Hill Wines at Durell Vineyard is a creative collaboration among Durell Vineyard owner Ellie Phipps Price, legendary vineyard manager Steve Hill and former Chateau St. Jean winemaker Don Van Staaveren, and captures the best of what many consider Sonoma County’s finest vineyard. The name Sand Hill is an homage to the 400-acre Sand Hill Ranch that encompasses Durell Vineyard. The ranch, in turn, is named for a far northern section of the property whose undulating curves and white, sandy soils resemble a sandbar.
Ellie Phipps Price and her former husband, Bill Price, purchased Sand Hill/Durell in 1998 from founder Ed Durell. Durell, a San Francisco food broker, had acquired the land in 1977 with the intent of turning it into a cattle ranch – southern Sonoma Valley had long been devoted to cattle ranches and dairy farms – but in 1979 began planting grapes instead. In 1980, after Durell hired Steve Hill to manage the ranch, the pair decided to focus exclusively on grapes, which they began selling to Sonoma County wineries in 1982.
Steve Hill, one of California’s most respected viticulturists, bootstrapped his early vine education, experimenting over the years with a variety of rootstocks and clones for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah. Indeed, Durell was the first Sonoma Valley grower to use the Syrah variety designation on a wine bottle when both Kendall-Jackson and Edmunds St. John labeled a Durell vineyard Syrah in 1985. More than two-dozen other top wineries have since followed suit.
Learn more at www.sandhilldurell.com.