2020 Peay Vineyards Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Vanessa Wong learned how to make superior Chardonnay as winemaker at Peter Michael Winery. Peay Vineyards is located in the “true” Sonoma Coast, 4 miles from the chilly Pacific Ocean. A consistent afternoon ocean wind allows them to produce a Chardonnay of elegance, intensity and focus.
Certified organic farming practices.
Only 12 left in stock
In the spring of 1995, brothers Andy and Nick were listening to old jazz records and brewing beer in Andy’s in-law apartment in Berkeley. Nick would bring the wine for dinner and Andy, since he was trying to figure out if maybe he wanted to be a professional chef, would cook. One evening while washing down a bite of lamb with a perfectly paired cool climate Syrah, Andy’s brain lit up like a Christmas tree. Forget life as a chef. Wine! A life in wine is the future.
Peay Vineyards is a family-run business started from scratch in 1996. They planted the first 30 acres of the 54 acre vineyard in 1998 with the remaining planted in 2001 and 2008. They grow and produce estate-only Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay, Viognier and Roussanne/Marsanne. Husband and wife, Nick Peay & Vanessa Wong, grow and make the wine and brother, Andy Peay, sells the wine and runs the business. Vanessa was planting a vineyard on the Sonoma Coast when she heard about these guys up north who had just planted 15 clones of Pinot Noir in Terra Incognita. She visited in the fall of 2000 and took a shine to the beauty of the place and the quality of the young vine fruit she tasted while she walked the vineyard with Nick. Vanessa joined Peay Vineyards in the spring before their first vintage in 2001 and they were married the following year.
Prior to coming to Peay, Vanessa worked at Peter Michael Winery as winemaker and assistant winemaker from 1996-2000. She also spent time working in France at Château Lafite-Rothschild in Pauillac and Domaine Jean Gros in Vosne-Romanée.
Peay Vineyards farms on a ridge top above a river gorge in the northwestern corner of the “true” Sonoma Coast 4 miles from the chilly Pacific Ocean. A consistent afternoon ocean wind, placement in the cool inversion layer and ancient marine soils allow them to produce wines of elegance, intensity and focus. The Peay family farms organically and maintains their certifications for fish-friendly farming and integrated pest management. The health of the vineyard dictates these approaches to farming and making wine. They also run on bio-diesel at the vineyard and solar power at both the vineyard and winery.
As one of the most popular grapes for growing and consuming, Chardonnay can be made in a wide range of styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. These styles can vary from a sparkling Blanc de Blanc, or fresh fermented in stainless steel, to rich and creamy white wine aged in oak barrels. While Chardonnay can flourish in many environments, in its homeland of Burgundy it can produce some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. Whereas from California it can produce both oaky, buttery styles as well as leaner, European-inspired wines. A Somm secret: the Burguny subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style with high levels of acidity. Most people who do not like oaky/buttery Chardonnay may likely enjoy Chablis. Notable regions for this grape include Burgundy (and Chablis) in France, Central Coast, Napa, and Sonoma in CA, and Western Australia. When pairing with meals, consider the characteristics, flavors, and acidity of your food first. You always want to try to match the same characteristics and intensities with your wine. No brainer pairing options include seafood, salads, and white meat. Chardonnay, with its vast versatility, is everyone’s best friend.
SONOMA COAST, CALIFORNIA
Unknown to many, Sonoma County located in Northern California is actually bigger than its neighbor, Napa County. Sonoma has a famous gap region, known as the Petaluma Gap, that provides a break in the the coastal ranges and is Sonoma County’s newest AVA. The “Gap” is actually a wind gap named after a coastal mountain opening that stretches east from the Pacific Ocean to the south of the San Pablo Bay. Closest to the Sonoma Coast is the famous Russian River Valley AVA known for its high-quality, elegant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. To the north of the Russian River lies the warmer Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley AVA’s producing a wide range of grape varieties including excellent Zinfandels, Sauvignon Blanc, Rhône varietals (Syrah, Grenache, etc), and Cabernet Sauvignon. Other vineyard areas to watch out for premium wine are Sonoma Coast AVA, Anderson Valley, and Mendocino County.