It’s Chardonnay Day! What are you enjoying?
I’ve opened a gorgeous 2017 Read Holland Peter Martin Ray Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains.
Did you notice the vineyard prominently featured in the wine name? Does the vineyard matter when it comes to Chardonnay? Usually yes. And in this case, Heck Yes!
What does the Peter Martin Ray vineyard offer?
Well, among other attributes, 40-year-old head-trained vines of the historic, original, Mt Eden clone of Chardonnay. How about a 2,000 ft elevation to boot. That altitude contributes to both small clusters and berries of the most concentrated aromatics, fruit and texture, while maintaining amazing vibrant acidity. 🍋
Read-Holland Wines focuses on organically farmed, historical grape sites that are distinctive and truly offer something special. The team is lead by the indomitable and talented Ashley Holland, female winemaker who is unendingly passionate about delicious wines with brightness, character, layers, that offer something unique. Ashley crafts wines with skill, instinct, and heart. She started her winemaking career in New Zealand’s Marlborough region where she worked for Two Rivers for 4 vintages. Before establishing her own label, she most recently worked alongside the likes of Bob Cabral and Bill Price as Associate Winemaker for Three Sticks Wines of Sonoma where she worked as for 4 vintages.
Ashley is a personal friend whom I’ve known since my earliest days in wine, so perhaps I’m a bit biased; yet everyone who knows her adores her. She is lovely, spirited and intelligent. You should meet her sometime!
So let’s taste the wine!
Aromatics of white flowers and lemon verbena invite you in, but it’s that first sip that make my eyes pop. Wow – the intense fresh fruit and the lively acids dance on my palate. Then I sense the concentration of the Meyer lemon spanning preserved tartness to almost a lemon curd as it fills out my palate with the perfect weight. This followed by bit of salty crushed seashell on the back end. The tart yet juicy fruit is truly persistent, making my mouth water, my tongue happy as I keep reaching for another sip, and another. ……
Winemaking: To take full advantage of the beautiful phenolics developed on the vine, Ashley and team give the grapes an overnight cold soak and then foot tread before sending to press. The wine saw 25% new oak for 11 months, lees stirring to add to the texture, and stainless barrels for four months before bottling to keep it fresh. The wine showcases the Chardonnay grape, the mountain vineyard, and just a touch of the winemaking craft to coax out the best of both.
… And Pairings?
This supremely balanced and prized Chardonnay is so enjoyable on its own, but I’m already dreaming of possible dinner pairings – – Ricotta crostini, shrimp scampi, pear and prosciutto salad, oven roasted lemon chicken, or maybe cotoletta with radicchio and arugula salad? Or guanciale and potato pizza, spaghettini con acciughe, creamy lemon-parmiggiano risotto with peas and asparagus tips. Pan-seared halibut, even Penang curry. I could go on…