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06.03.2004

2002 Londer Chardonnay, Kent Ritchie Vineyard, Sonoma Coast

So I seem to be on a little bit of a quest. An attempt to understand and experience a particular piece of terroir. After drinking and reviewing a Londer Pinot the other day, I happened to notice that Londer also makes a Chardonnay from the Ritchie Vineyard. Regular readers will be familiar with my raves about the Aubert Chardonnay and more recently the Tandem Chardonnay from the same vineyard. When I saw that Londer also made one, I had to give it a try, especially knowing that winemaker Greg LaFolette (who is also responsible for the Tandem Chard) has the ability to make Chards sing, as evidenced by both the Tandem wine as well as the fruits of his tenure at Flowers

So here I sit, enjoying the third wine from what I can only describe as a remarkable vineyard site. The Londer version is a little more traditionally California in its interpretation of the grapes (a little more oak, more of the malolactic buttery-ness that is so common these days) but it remains true to what (after three tastes) I believe is the character of this vineyard site: cool mineral rich aromas of petrichor (wet earth after a fresh rain) and smooth pear and floral elements that make for a triumphantly clean and refreshing wine.

So what do we know about the Ritchie vineyard? Not much. Located just outside of Forestville, California, it is owned by Kent and Donna Ritchie, and contains 30 year old Chardonnay vines. That's about all.

Tasting Notes:
Pale yellow with a slight hint of green in the glass, this wine has a nose with the aforemetnioned scent of fresh rain, ripe pears, honeysuckle, nuts, and butterscotch. On the tongue it displays a fine acidity with flavors of buttercream, tropical fruits meyer lemon, asian pears, understated malolactic butteriness, and a gorgeous nutty finish with elements of the French oak used in the barrels.

Food Pairing:
Because this is a little more oak driven, I would recommend that this wine be paired with something heavier with strong flavors, as it could overwhelm something that's more delicate. Try serving it with seafood linguine.

Overall Score: 9/9.5

How Much?: $33

I found it online at The California Wine Club.

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