Located in one of the 13 Sonoma county appellations, Chalk Hill Estate boasts the best possible combination of innovation and sustainable viticulture.
Founded almost 40 years ago, this estate features a total of 1300 acres, which include, the winery and red wine aging facility, its own organic culinary garden, a hospitality center, an equestrian pavilion, oak forests and wild grasslands and 382 acres of vineyards.
But, what truly makes Chalk Hill so remarkable and unique, is its location, that provides owner and head of winemaking Courtney Foley and her team the opportunity to handcraft wines from a variety of grapes. To the west, the cooler Russian River Valley, known for being the best spot in California to produce cooler climate Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, and to the north east, the warm Alexander Valley where conditions are ideal to grow and ripen warm climate Bordeaux varieties.
Chalk Hill wines are then, the direct result of successfully matching the terroir of the land which includes a diversity of altitudes (that go from 100-600 ft) and these two microclimates with specially selected clones (their Chardonnay was created/designed by UC Davis) and soils that go from gravel and rock to heavy clay, with a subsoil of chalk colored-volcanic ash that inspired the name of both winery and appellation.
From the winery's impressive line up, I received two wines to review: Chalk Hill Estate Chardonnay 2017 and Chalk Hill Estate Red Blend 2016, a Bordeaux blend featuring Cabernet Sauvignon.
Chalk Hill Estate Chardonnay 2017 was made following the original Burgundian recipe, it was completely fermented in French oak barrels (both old and new), with native yeasts, followed by malolactic fermentation with lees stirring every two weeks. The wine was then aged for 11 months in oak, 44% new. $42
This white is power bomb, yet elegant, featuring a full body, with medium plus alcohol, balanced acidity, showcasing lemon and mineral notes. A soft touch of oak complements the creamy finish.
The Chalk Hill Estate Red Blend 2016 was completely vinified in stainless steel vats, and is a blend of 47 % Cabernet Sauvignon with 37% Malbec , 9% Petit Verdot and 7% Merlot. After undergoing malolactic fermentation the wine was aged for 20 months in French oak, 55% new. $70
This massive red features a full body with notes of black fruits (blackberry, black cherry, plum) with chocolate and spicy notes, ending in a smooth and fleshy finish.
Besides offering customized wine tastings and culinary experiences (Chalk Hill has its own restaurant in Healdsburg), Chalk Hill winery is also a member of the Foley Food Wine society that offers consumers an opportunity to gain points from every dollar spent that can be used to purchase wines, events tickets, tours, etc in 16 different wineries owned by the family, located in the states of California, Oregon and Washington. Something definitely to look forward to, once things come back to normal.
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