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2016 Walker Hill Vineyard Chardonnay

Green Valley of Russian River Valley

2016 Walker Hill Vineyard Chardonnay
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/ 750 ML bottle

Wine Specs
Green Valley of Russian River Valley
Vineyard Designation
Dutton Ranch - Walker Hill Vineyard
6.3 g/L
Aged 17 months in French oak (50% new barrels)
100% barrel fermentation, 100% malolactic fermentation, stirred lees
Bottling Date
April 2018
Alcohol %
Wine Profile
Tasting Notes
You can tell from first sniff that the 2016 Walker Hill Chardonnay is going to be a luxurious wine. The long growing season this year gave the grapes extra time to gain maximum flavor in the vineyard. Sweet cream and candied Meyer lemon lead the aromas, followed by Mandarin orange, toasty brioche, creamy cashew, and dried mango. The mouth is soft, rich, and broad, with bold notes of lemon curd, caramel, and honeysuckle, lifted by a lemon/lime freshness.
94, Wine Enthusiast. 92, 5 Stars, Restaurant Wine. 92, James Suckling.
Vineyard Notes
The rudder in crafting Dutton-Goldfield wines is our endeavor to produce wines that our winemakers love to drink. We see no more reliable assessment, and besides, it covers our downside risk. Walker Chardonnay is a wine we hugely love to drink, and owes its existence to that fact. We’ve been producing wine from the old Wente vines up at Walker since 2006 for our Dutton Ranch Chardonnay, and the preponderance of the barrels still support that program; but the 2011 Walker was the jewel of the year for Dan and a designated bottling just had to be done. This wine is everything we want of Green Valley Chardonnay: powerful citrus fruit and tense acidity wrapped in the candied setting of classic chardonnay winemaking. The block, planted in the early 1980s, is situated 500 vertical feet above Purrington Creek on fluffy Goldridge soil. The vines produce the tiny berries with thick skins we love from old Wente in Green Valley.
Winemaker Notes
This wine is such a pleasure to produce, other than the 6 months it seems to always take to complete its fermentations – ah, the beauty of old vine chard. We fermented half of the Walker with indigenous yeast, and hedged our bets on the other half with M2, a favorite inoculum. We combined the indigenous and M2 lots right after fermentation to create the blend in April 2017, then went back to barrel on primary lees again until bottling in April of 2018. We vary the barrels a bit for complexity in this wine, but focus on Seguin Moreau for its ginger notes, and Taransaud for the great structure and subtle toffee flavor. Walker is all about the lively, bright fruit, so care to stay out of its way is crucial.
Food Pairing Notes
Bold and rich dishes like meaty halibut or swordfish with an olive sauce make a great match for the wine, as well as a crisp-skinned roasted chicken, butternut squash ravioli, or a creamy and tangy sheep cheese like Bellwether’s San Andreas.