March 9, 2021
By Bruce Neyers
The Paul Larson Chardonnay Vineyard on a typical late summer day. The vines are shrouded in fog, and the daytime temperature here is in the 70s. A few miles to the north – in Saint Helena, say – it might be closer to 100 degrees.
We just received more good news from James Suckling, with his recent review of our 2019 Chardonnay ‘304’. Here’s what James had to report:
Neyers 2019 Chardonnay ‘304’
Publication date: February 22, 2021
“Aromas of white blossoms, fresh pears, sliced apples and lemon curd. It’s medium-to full-bodied with crisp acidity. Creamy and flavorful with a deliciously fresh fruit profile. Drink now.” 90 POINTS – James Suckling
This is an enormously successful wine we make in the fashion of a traditional Chablis from France. The grapes come largely from the Paul Larson Vineyard in the southern-most part of the Sonoma-Carneros AVA, one of the coldest and rockiest spots in the Carneros appellation. The growing conditions combine slow, cool-weather ripening with an exotic touch of complex minerality from the rocky soils left behind by the now-abandoned bed of Old Sonoma Creek. The vineyard is planted to ‘Shot-Wente’ selection, so yields are low. We ferment the wine exclusively in Stainless Steel ‘304’ tanks using native wild yeast, then allow the new wine to sit in contact with the yeast lees for several months. The wine undergoes a partial malo-lactic fermentation before bottling in spring of the year following the harvest. We enjoyed a bottle this weekend with line-caught local Swordfish grilled over mesquite, then served in Barbara’s lemon butter sauce. Delicious!
Shot-Wente Selection clusters on Larson Vineyard vines in southern Carneros. The vineyard is on the south side of Hwy. 128, closer to San Francisco Bay, where temperatures are colder and the soil is rockier. The vineyard is about to be harvested in this photo. Note the variation in size of the berries. This is a typical mutation of ‘Shot-Wente’, and the increase of skin surface relative to juice volume heightens the flavor of the wine.