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Coastal fog and ocean swept breezes preserve the freshness and character of this most expressive and transparent grape.

Rivers Marie Sonoma Coast Chardonnay label

Sonoma Coast

Comprised primarily of the Riddle Vineyard in the northeast corner of Occidental, this appellation bottling also always features small pieces of most of our single vineyard bottlings each year. The Sonoma Coast vineyards for our Chardonnay program are closer to each other than any other varietal we produce so this wine offers a magnified insight into our favorite neighborhood, the Occidental/Freestone corridor. For many years, we have aged this wine in 0% new oak to allow the sites contained within to express their character before any other influence kicks in.

Bearwallow Vineyard

The epitome of meticulous farming is what always comes to mind first when I think of Bearwallow. This deep end Anderson Valley site has been a part of our program since 2016 and we enjoy its different nature from all the tiny clustered Sonoma Coast vineyards that make up the majority of our program. This bottling always has a distinctive yellow fruited character complemented by a saline and roasted nut character. Our little 1.5 acre Wente clone block has matured into one of the unique coastal Chardonnays we taste every year.

Platt Vineyard

Located in what has become the highest quality neighborhood on the Sonoma Coast, the Chardonnay here can occasionally be overlooked compared to its higher profile Pinot Noir companion. Don’t sleep on the white wine from here though, it can be just as thrilling as anything coming out of the Occidental/Freestone area. The laser focused acidity and abundance of citrus fruits makes this a mouthwatering experience every vintage. There’s only so much Chardonnay of this quality in the world and our 2-3 tons a year has taught us a lot about what’s possible to achieve in the world of great white wine.

Purrington Rued Vineyard

This has to be the most distinctive Chardonnay site I have ever encountered. We struggle sometimes to accurately describe it and still make it sound like Chardonnay. From vines planted in 1969 and from the birthplace of the Rued clone, you could talk yourself into believing this was more Alsatian than Burgundian. Salted and candied tropical fruits dominate the aromatic and palate before all the old vine weight and acidity comes in to restore a sense of place and varietal. We hope to work with this ancient block for many more years but for now we are just enjoying the exotic experience.

Joy Road Vineyard

It has been a pleasure to work alongside the legendary winemaker Terry Adams at his home estate on the western Sonoma Coast. Though this little wedge of Chardonnay vineyard is tiny, the wines from here have been mighty and have slowly revealed themselves as our best aging Chardonnay in the lineup. The character here has veered in many different directions but over the last few years it has settled into a citrus leaning, mineral flecked wine that has a slight honeyed floral kick at the end.

B. Thieriot Vineyard

Our flagship and what launched our Chardonnay program in 2007, we coveted this small Robert Young clone block since our first vintage at Summa in 2002. We’ve run out of superlatives to describe the wines from this vineyard but we do have the greatest handle on the nature of the wine produced here each year. Lemon zest, sea spray, brioche, white flowers, orchard fruit and citrus blossom pop up in every vintage. The acidity helps to focus and frame the finish with just the slightest hint of oak at the end adding roundness. A true grand cru site on the far western edge of the Sonoma Coast.

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