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Joseph Phelps 2011 Freestone Chardonnay

Price: $45.00
RETAIL: $55.00

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This deal ended 3442 days ago

Creamy with hints of honeydew, sweet vanilla, stone fruit, and toasted Brioche.

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The Season
The 2011 growing season was marked by cool weather and rain that lasted until June.  Bud break and bloom were later than usual, but by the summer months, moderate temperatures and afternoon sunshine kicked the growing season into gear.  A warming trend in September helped the grapes ripen to maturity.

The 2011 Chardonnay growing season was slow and cool, producing exceptional fruit quality with balanced sugar and acid levels.  The finished wines are intensely concentrated with a distinctly Freestone spice element.

The Vineyard
Freestone area of the Sonoma Coast on the east side of the Bohemian Highway on the fringe of the Russian River Valley. The Pastorale Vineyard surrounds the winery and lies eight miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. This location benefits from the long, cool growing season which is strongly influenced by fog and other maritime influences.

The Process
Chardonnay grapes were picked in early morning light to preserve sugar and acidity levels in the fruit, the whole cluster pressed directly to barrel for a slow, natural fermentation.  Barrels were stirred to suspend the lees during malolactic fermentation and to enhance texture.  The wines were racked once prior to botling.  Aged for 13 months in 40% new and 60% two-to-three-year-old French oak.

The Experience
The 2011 Chardonnay is a mix of the best selections from the estate, including some heirloom selections that help to define the blend's character and structure.  This Chardonnay opens with a bright bouquet overflowing with apple, honey suckle, white flower, and Meyer lemon zest laced with notes of crushed rock and toasted Brioche.  Fresh and lively balanced minerality and a creamy texture, the wine boasts tart green apple, lemon custard, honeydew melon flavors throughout.  Long and lingering, the finish is touched with stone fruit and sweet vanilla.

The Facts
Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay
Appellation: Sonoma Coast
Harvest Date: September 30 to October 25, 2011
Bottling Date: February 13, 2013
Barreling: 40% new French Oak, 60% two-to-three-years-old French Oak

The Story Behind Joseph Phelps Vineyard
In the late 60s, Joseph Phelps was running one of the largest construction companies in the U.S. when he won the bid to build Souverain Winery (now Rutherford Hill) located a few miles outside of St. Helena. Enamored with the beautiful Napa Valley and contemplating a career change, in 1973 he bought the 600-acre Connolly cattle ranch in Spring Valley, and began planting vineyards. The winery was completed in 1974 and that same year the first Syrah was made, the first grapes were crushed at the new facility and the first Insignia was produced. It was a period of unparalleled activity, creativity, ingenuity, entrepreneurship and risk-taking and it put Joe Phelps on the map of top Napa Valley wine producers.

Four decades later, the flagship wine, Insignia, is recognized as one of the world’s great wines. Thirty-one of thirty-six vintages have been rated ninety or more points by various wine publications. The 2002 vintage was awarded “Wine of the Year” by Wine Spectator Magazine. Over the years, the goal of becoming 100% estate grown resulted in carefully planned acquisitions of prime vineyards in the Napa Valley. Today, the Phelps estate consists of the Spring Valley Home Ranch outside of St. Helena, Banca Dorada in Rutherford, Las Rocas and Barboza vineyards in Stags Leap, Yountville Vineyard in Oak Knoll, Suscol Vineyard in South Napa, Backus Vineyard in Oakville and Larry Hyde & Sons Vineyard in Carneros.

Beginning with the 2009 vintage, estate-grown wines include Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Insignia, Cabernet Sauvignon Backus Vineyard (the single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville) and Eisrébe, a dessert wine made from the Scheurebe grape. In addition, Syrah is produced from the Larry Hyde & Sons Vineyard in Carneros.

Though the main focus is on Bordeaux varietals, Joe Phelps has had a life-long love affair with the wines of Burgundy and a desire to craft wines in that style. Originally Chardonnay was sourced from St. Helena, later from Yountville and then from Carneros. Through the years, however, Joe continued to search for the ideal spot to grow both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and his search ended when the perfect combination of climate, soil and location was found in Freestone, located in the Sonoma Coast AVA, a mere five miles from the Pacific Ocean. In 1999, Joseph Phelps Vineyards began developing 100 acres of vineyards just outside of Freestone. In 2005, construction began on a new winery which was completed in time for the 2007 harvest. Today, 80 acres of Pinot Noir and 20 acres of Chardonnay produce remarkable estate-grown wines bearing the Joseph Phelps name.

When Joe Phelps founded his estate winery and vineyards in 1973, he did so with a clear vision for the work and commitment that would be required to create the best wines possible. Essential to his goal was assembling a winemaking team who would embrace his dedication, attention to detail, and tremendous passion for the craft of winemaking itself. Today, the talented winemaking team of Ashley Hepworth, Napa Winemaker, Damian Parker, Director of Winemaking, Philippe Pessereau, Director of Vineyard Operations, Kelly Fields, Napa Assistant Winemaker and Justin Ennis, Freestone Assistant Winemaker, have taken Joe’s vision to heights even he could never have imagined.

Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate - 91 pts
"The 2011 Chardonnay Estate Freestone Vineyard is bright, focused and highly articulate.  It is impeccably polished for such a young wine."

Wine Spectator - 88 pts
"Sleek and elegant, with modest but well-focused notes of lemon, citrus, green apple and peach, ending fresh and lively. Drink now through 2017. 2,110 cases made." –JL
Aging Potential: Ready to Drink, 5-10 Years
Appellation: Sonoma, California
Body: Medium
Color: Golden Yellow
Flavor Pairing: Spicy Asian, Creamy, Buttery
Food Pairing: Seafood, Fish, Chicken
On the Nose: Lemon, Honeysuckle, Honeydew, Apple
On the Palate: Vanilla, Stone Fruit, Honeydew, Brioche
Serving Recommendation: Slightly Chilled
Texture: Creamy
Varietal: Chardonnay

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