Stuhlmuller Vineyards is located at the southern edge of the Alexander Valley, where it converges with two other highly regarded Sonoma County appellations, Chalk Hill and the Russian River Valley. On its eastern edge, the 150-acre vineyard borders the Russian River. Situated in a unique location that is part river benchlands and part hillside, the vineyard benefits from its alluvial gravel soils and the more rocky soils that comprise the hillside sections of the vineyard.
Five blocks of Chardonnay are planted in the well-drained, benchland soils. The famous Gauer Upper Barn Clone, one of California's most sought-after Chardonnay selections, comprises 80 percent of these vines. The 2006 Estate Chardonnay is crafted from a mix of Gauer and Clone 4 fruit. From the Gauer Clone, the Chardonnay derives flavors of Asian pear, spice and a natural nuttiness, while the Clone 4 grapes contribute mild tropical flavors.
After a wet cool spring, the 2006 growing season produced a mild summer with no major heat spikes, or unusually hot days. Harvest began in mid-September and finished in early October, allowing the fruit to come in at a relatively relaxed pace, and in excellent condition before the autumn rains arrived.
To accentuate the signature fruit flavors and nuttiness of our estate grapes, we exclusively used indigenous yeast to craft our 2006 Estate Chardonnay. The wine was 100 percent barrel fermented sur lie for eight months in Vosges and Allier barrels (15 percent new oak), and also underwent 70 percent indigenous malolactic fermentation. In order to create a creamy texture on the mid-palate, the lees were stirred every other week throughout the winter.
This wine displays a pale straw color with green reflections. Offering flirtatious aromas of young pineapple, lemongrass, honeysuckle and white corn in the bouquet, on the palate, this Chardonnay delivers flavors of fresh tropical fruit, lemon drop candies and yellow flowers. Backed by mild, integrated oak and refreshing acidity, it concludes with a crisp, lively finish.