“The discovery of a good wine is increasingly better for mankind than the discovery of a new star.” – Leonardo da Vinci

I enjoyed this wine before, on my second visit to Sonoma; the tasting at Stonestreet graciously arranged by some wonderful people at Kendall-Jackson (another story).  That was in October of 2014. I tasted the wine, (a 2011) bought it and others and tasted them again at home almost immediately upon arriving. I remember being so impressed by the balance and finesse of “Broken Road” that I later brought it as my partner to a dinner party.  It was voted the most important person at the party. That was last year, 2015.

Today, cooking (wild caught, Copper River, Alaskan) salmon, my reflex is Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc, Loire Valley, France).  It’s my preference for salmon; a “go-to” reflex.  But cooking the salmon on the grill and sheathing it in cedar wraps, I thought it may be better to go with a wine of more weight. I pulled out my last bottle of Stonestreet’s 2011 “Broken Road” Chardonnay from the Alexander Valley AVA.
Cedar wrapped salmon on the grill.
Not much to say. Generally, you like
fish or you don't like fish.

It was a good choice.                                                                   

And proof again that wine is a living thing, which develops both in the bottle and, with air, in the glass.

At the time, I wasn’t aware of all the reviews: Tanzer, Advocate, and Spectator. I’ve seen them since and certainly Stonestreet doesn’t need my humble opinion. But not to put it out here would be remiss and disrespectful to the winemaker’s art and craft.  It is, quite simply, a beautiful Chardonnay.

Unlike the previous two bottles, this – just opened – put out some smoky notes.  Enough that I wondered if the barrel for this had been over charred. Then again, all palates and preferences are personal and there are those who prefer this character over everything.  But it seemed an anomaly
Salmon, flourless gnocchi,and (yes) asparagus with
and without jamon serrano. Delicious. But the wine
was the star. and elevated everything (even asparagus!).
because my recollection of that characteristic didn’t come to mind from the previous bottles.  It wasn’t offensive. Just different from memory.  Disciplined writers keep better notes. Then again, here you get the pure experience of the moment.  Either way, with air, the smoke diminished and allowed the fruit to resurface.   

But fruit is handled with finesse. Subtly hinted, melded, it draws you in instead of clubbing you. Oak is deft; there is no overload of vanilla. In fact, one of the most enjoyable aspects of this wine is its push-pull interplay of notes. The nose offers orange blossom. Its flavor includes notes of butterscotch that change to tart citrus toward its finish. There’s a soft lime opening than morphs to tangy citrus. In-between this concert is lemon verbena, hazelnut, and unsweet tropical fruit, with pineapple mildly forward. The wine is an education: a high-low of fun notes in the mouth. Somehow, Graham Weerts (winemaker) composes this symphony of tastes in a balance that peaks interests and invites you to take another sip and explore what’s going on. Despite all this fruit, the wine is elegantly austere, southern Burgundian like, but not shy. It doesn’t scream California, but it whispers it with classic notes of sea breeze and sea shell and finishes with enough acidity and tannin to be a Burgundy step child.  Weerts has every reason to be a proud father.

………………. Jim
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Galloni                         94 Points
Parker Points                93
Tanzer                          92

AVA:                            Alexander Valley, Sonoma County
Mountain Range:        Mayacamas Mountains
Region:                        North Coast, California
Elevation of Vineyard: 1800 ft.
Slope’s Exposure:        Southwest
Rootstock:                   110R
Clone:                          4
Avg. Ripeness:             22.8
Fermentation:              100% barrel, lees stirred monthly, native yeasts(!)
Aging:                          10 months, 47% new French
Alc:                              14%
TA:                               .59      

Since all wine begins in the vineyard, credit goes also to Gabriel Valencia, Vineyard Manager.                

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