Austin Creek Cellars Russian River Chardonnay 2012
By Jonathan H. Newman*
Austin Creek Cellars 2012 Russian River Chardonnay
UNIT SIZE: 750.00ml
COUNTRY: United States
REGION: Russian River Valley
ALCOHOL CONTENT: 13.90%
Honors go to Winemaker Erica O’Brien for crafting this delicious Russian River Chardonnay, which is from Austin Creek’s Hillside lot 367, which is located next to famed wineries Williams Selyem and Rochioli. This is the sweet spot for particularly delicious Chardonnay and 2012 is a very special vintage. Perfumed fruit on the nose with white peach, vanilla and white flowers. The wine possesses nice elegance, and is round and made in a consumer friendly style. Generous fruit including pear, and melon with touches of lemon cream, orange, vanilla and a subtle spice box. Pair with Lobster Roll, seared scallops in a lemon white wine sauce, Macadamia-encrusted tilapia, and Grouper sandwiches.
By Austin Creek Cellars
2012 Austin Creek Russian River Chardonnay 2012
A refined example of the crisp yet fruit-forward style of Chardonnay, this wine delights the senses with its sparkling gold color, floral aromas and a mix of tropical and citrus fruit flavor that includes kiwi and lime. Balancing out the fruit is a steely backbone of acid and just a hint of minerality that makes for a refreshing and crisp finish.
A love of wine and food began at a young age for Erica O’Brien, who was raised in a family where dinner was regularly a four-hour, multi-course event. To start her adventure in the world of wine, she made the easy decision to pursue a degree in winemaking at the University of California at Davis when her high school counselor mentioned that such a major actually existed. A brief stop in Carneros at Roche Winery after college graduation flowed into a career at Clos LaChance Winery on California’s central coast. Over the next eight years, it was here that Erica was able to grow along side the young estate vineyard, learn from a skilled mentor, and feed her passion for bringing together great wines, paired with awesome food, shared with friends and family. When the world called Erica answered with a year of adventure, exploring different regions around the globe, trying cuisines and experiencing cultures. “When I tasted the flavors of a Cambodian Amok curry matched with a floral California Viognier, I really realized just how amazing our world is and wanted share that joy with everyone back home.” Erica currently resides in Napa and continues her adventures in a different way, now striving to make the wines she knows can be enjoyed with a variety of foods, each enhancing the other and making for unforgettable experiences.
Erica sourced this Chardonnay from a secluded 20-acre hillside vineyard that is located next to Williams Selyem and Rochioli vineyards and planted with the Wente and 96 clones. The mature vines have roots that extend deep into the area’s Yolo Sandy Silt Loam, which is also found in some of the very best vineyards in the Russian River Valley. The vines are trained with vertical shoot positioning and planted fairly tight to reduce excess vegetative growth and produce ripe, flavorful clusters.
Crews of skilled workers pick the grapes by hand at night to ensure the grape cluster temperatures remain cool and the optimum level of quality is preserved. After the grapes are delivered at the winery, they are whole-cluster pressed and the juice is transferred to a tank. Once the juice has received some time to settle, 60% of it is racked to another refrigerated tank for fermentation. The remaining wine finishes fermentation in new or neutral French oak barrels. The final wine is assembled and aged sur lie in a variety of French oak barrels for 17 months.
[Info provided by J.H.N.]
*Jonathan Newman was Wine Enthusiasts’ Man of the Year. He also was Chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, and received national recognition in Marvin Shanken’s Market Watch Magazine and many other international wine publications. He was also awarded the Guild of Sommeliers highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award. Mr. Newman's reviews have been published and quoted extensively online and in print. He travels extensively to many of the major wine growing regions and evaluates many of the wines we source from smaller and boutique wineries. We interact closely with him and the result is his rejection rate of over 96% of the wines evaluated.