“With Sea Slopes, we aim to capture the essence of the Sonoma Coast. These wines are at once approachable, elegant and eminently worthy of the quality standards we have established with Fort Ross” - Owner, Lester Schwartz
Sea Slopes Chardonnay is inspired by the majestic Sonoma Coast and the steep rugged ridges perched at the golden edge of the continent. Here, the cool maritime climate produces fruit of exceptional quality and allows us to craft wines of great elegance and purity.
Bright, crisp acidity intertwines with stony minerality to express the cool coastal climate. Lively aromatics of citrus oil, white peach, and nectarine with a hint of brioche soar from the glass. The full-bodied palate offers layers of apricot, golden plum and lemon tart leading to a refreshing finish that invites another sip!
Vintage & Winemaking Notes
The temperate weather on the coast leading up to harvest was free of both heat waves and rain, allowing the Chardonnay grapes to mature slowly and reach their full development. Our lasting memory of the 2016 vintage is a vision of perfect bunches, even berry size and a balanced crop.
The grapes for this Chardonnay were hand-sorted to include only the finest fruit, which was then gently pressed. The low yielding clones and heritage field selections were sourced from several exceptional vineyard blocks to achieve the complexity and elegant balance for this true Sonoma Coast profile. Fermentation occurred in the ideal combination of stainless steel for vibrancy and freshness and French oak barrels which adds great texture and length to the finish. The wine completed malolactic fermentation, adding a supple richness. Prior to bottling it was aged on the lees with occasional gentle stirring culminating in a pure expression of Chardonnay from this region.
Origin: Sonoma Coast, California
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
Aged: 15 months in Stainless Steel & French Oak; 20% new
92 Points, Editors’ Choice, Wine Enthusiast
Included In The Box
4x 2016 Fort Ross Winery Sea Slopes Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast
12x 2016 Fort Ross Winery Sea Slopes Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast
“The sheer beauty of this land overlooking the majestic coast drew us to the property. It has been a labor of love ever since.” - Lester Schwartz, Owner
In 1988 owners Lester and Linda Schwartz purchased a section of virgin forest and grasslands in the high coastal ridges of the Sonoma Coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Told by academics that it was too risky to plant a vineyard on these cool, foggy coastal ridges so close to the Ocean they were undeterred. After experimenting for several years with assorted clones, rootstocks and trellising systems they concluded that the property had the potential to grow exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In 1994, after carefully sourcing exceptional heritage clones whose attributes they believed would reveal the terroir and varietal typicity, they began to prepare and plant the first vineyard blocks. Lester and Linda spent many days personally digging plant holes and planting vines as they meticulously laid out their 53-acre vineyard with roads, underground drainage and irrigation systems while developing and building a reservoir and designing a custom trellis system.
In tribute to their South African heritage, they sourced Pinotage bud wood from the original founding blocks in that country, and became the first private growers to import grapevine cuttings through the Foundation Plant Services that operates alongside the U.C. Davis School of Viticulture and Enology.
Today, Lester and Linda work closely with Jeff Pisoni, who came to Fort Ross as winemaker in 2009. They regularly walk the vineyard, making viticultural decisions and ultimately determining when best to harvest each block. Lester and Linda continue to oversee the day-to-day vineyard operations. Having worked tirelessly to carve this spectacular vineyard out of an untamed, extreme location, they have proved the academics wrong.
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Monday, September 23rd - Wednesday, September 25th
We are rats!
Received the bottle last weekend, and put it in the fridge to settle down and chill. Pulled the bottle out, and screwed and poured. First sniff revealed oak, something somewhat steely, and a hint of mushroom? Also some citrus; grapefruit?
First taste, lots of tart, and some oakiness. Interestingly enough, I wasn’t detecting the malolactic fermentation. Long finish, consisting of the fruit and some oak.
the bottle was quite chill, and I suspect that it was too cold. We will review more tonight when it is warmer.
My wife like it a lot, and would drink this all day. Me, I’m not much of a “processed” Chardonnay drinker, I like stainless steel fermentation without oak or malolactic fermentation. But that’s me.
Ok, I’ a rat.
Now, you all know I’m not the world’s biggest traditional wine drinker but I will try anything once, twice if I like it. Well I only tried this one once. I honestly couldn’t make myself try it again. Sorry to you’all
What I did notice first, was of course, the screw top. Means I can open it without trying to cut my thumb off, long story, lol. long painful story.
It was definitely fruity, but a heavy sort of fruity, not light, like I would want to pound the glass down. It did have a crispiness to it. But it was overly rich tasting.
So I guess, not for me. I’m sure many will like it.
The Wine Enthusiast review that is referenced above:
92 Points, Editors’ Choice
Brioche and almond flavors meet a sleek, smooth and tightly focused core in this meticulously made white. Apple, pear and lemon meringue provide complexity on the midpalate before finishing crisp and slightly spicy. 11/1/18 VB