Gravel Lens

2021 Chardonnay

50.00 / 750ml


Winemaking Notes

The 2021 vintage turned out to be a fantastic growing season, with no frost and very mild temperatures throughout most of the year. However, the unpredictable spring rains ended in March in what would become one of the driest seasons on record in Sonoma County. Despite a predicted early harvest due to dry conditions, we were pleased to find flavors and high acidities indicating everything was in balance and on track for a September harvest.

Fermentation was completed in 100% new French oak barrels. This wine underwent malolactic fermentation and was aged 14 months sur-lie with monthly bâttonage. Our desire is to strike a balance between the fresh aromas and acidity and the creamy texture and flavors lent by the time in barrel.

This Chardonnay shows perfumed floral aromas with orange blossom, apricot, mineral, and dusty oak. Floral tones, baked bread and oak spice flavors fill the mouth and, though rich, the mouthfeel is creamy and lighter than expected. This wine finishes with a touch of acidity and golden honey. Enjoy this wine with a variety of salty cheeses, fettuccini alfredo, ravioli marinara or a creamy vegetable soup.


The River West Vineyard is located on Westside Road on a low riverside bench in the far northern end of the Russian River Valley. The soil is predominantly Yolo sandy silt loam with a pocket of gravelly Cortina soil. One particular block of Chardonnay planted to the Spring Mountain selection Chardonnay, has been one of the perennial favorites, a centerpiece of our River West Chardonnay bottling for many years. Certain spots in the vineyard contain gravel lenses - areas where the Russian River deposited larger amounts of gravel than in other areas and which, over time, were hidden by soil eroded from the nearby hillsides. Subsequently, the gravel lenses are where the vines produce lower yields and exceptional quality fruit.

The Vineyards

The River West Vineyard is located on Westside Road, on a low riverside bench, in the far northern end of the Russian River Valley. The soil is predominantly Yolo sandy silt loam but with a pocket of gravelly Cortina soil in one block. It has been said that Chardonnay shows the hand of the winemaker more than other varietals. Our winemaker, Greg Morthole, believes there is some truth in that, but also believes the best vineyard sites yield fruit that distinctively express the characteristics of their location in the finished wine. Greg's delicate signature is embedded in each vintage as favored blocks and clones from River West are blended to show off the terroir of that site. The result is a delicious Chardonnay that shows characteristics of its origins derived from careful and deliberate winemaking choices to highlight our best lots.

Appellation: Russian River Valley
Varietal: Chardonnay
Alcohol: 14.5%
TA: 0.64g/100ml
PH: 3.06
Cellar & Fermentation: 14 months in French and Eastern European oak barrels, 23% new
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