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Ferren Wines, Chardonnay 2017


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    United States

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  • Winemaker:

    Matt Courtney

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An expressive and frankly gorgeous nose that opens up with lime and fresh butter, fresh pineapple, lemon zest, and creme brulee along with a touch of fresh mango. This is textured but beautifully fresh on the palate - a wine that coats the mouth with flavour but finishes with life and lift. Tarte fine au citron, pineapple, a touch of cream and grapefruit pith, all built around waves of flesh and freshness. Precision and presence abound in this deeply satisfying Sonoma Coast Chardonnay.
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Matt’s winemaking style is meticulous and deft – everything is produced with the lightest of soft touches, and in truly miniscule quantities – just a handful of barrels of Frei Road and Lancel Creek, and not much more Sonoma Coast, a blend of fruit from Matt’s single vineyard plots. Winemaking happens at Arista, home to the day job and a state-of-the-art winemaking facility, just 20 minutes outside of Healdsberg. Long slow spontaneous fermentations with the very lightest of lees fluffings (if required) lead to a quiet year’s elevage in four-year aged French barriques, just 15-30% of which are new. A further six months in steel allow Matt to bottle everything unfined and unfiltered.

Matt’s charm, skill and, to a lesser extent, history with Marcassin, have afforded him access to some very high-quality vineyards. These include Frei Road (aka the Zio Tony Ranch of Marcassin fame) in the heart of the Russian River Valley, and Lancel Creek, a vineyard just above Occidental, 5 miles from the Pacific, on the region’s famed chalky Goldridge soils, the latter planted and farmed by the late, legendary Ulysees Valdez. These he vinifies as transparently as possible, providing the naturally rich, textured fruit with the acidity and structure within which to express itself.

About Frei Road vineyard: This vineyard has been farmed by the Martinelli family for generations, and continues to be tended by George Martinelli. A mild climate graces this corner of Sonoma, and Chardonnay grapes ripen slowly in the well-draining Goldridge soil. Located near the village of Graton in the rolling hills south of the Russian River, Frei Road Vineyard produces a wine of great complexity, tension, and minerality

About Lancel Creek Vineyard: Lancel Creek Vineyard is perched above the tiny hamlet of Occidental on the remote Sonoma Coast. This secluded, two-acre site was prepared, planted, and is still tended by Ulises Valdez. The pale, off-white Goldridge soil provides just enough nutrients and moisture for these densely planted vines to ripen a small amount of intensely aromatic and flavorful Chardonnay. The vineyard faces the Pacific Ocean, a mere five miles to the west. The combined influence of the cold Pacific and the warming afternoon sun produces a wine of incredible richness and sublime balance.

Great Californian Chardonnay is a world unto itself and in Matt Courtney’s Ferren Wines we are delighted to have unearthed a truly up-and-coming star of the scene. Matt spent 8 years as right-hand man to the legendary Helen Turley at Marcassin before setting up Ferren Wines in 2013. Those lucky enough to have experienced the Marcassin wines will know the style she produces is extrovert and expressive, tenets that Matt has carried over to his own wines, but with a modern sense of refinement, purity tension; attributes that make his wines shine. Make no mistake, these are bold wines – they are bottled Californian sunshine, but that’s not to say they don’t have precision, freshness and layer after layer of flavour. The magnificent richness of these wines is simply the attribute of the exceptional, sustainably farmed fruit that makes up the Ferren range.


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