Aged for 19 months in French oak, this wine is a voluptuous not only in its aromatics but in flavors. The aromas are complex, whirling blend of lightly toasted almonds, orange marmalade, wet stones, honeysuckle and pineapple. The palate is very intense, succulent from the rich front palate to a finish that just goes on and on.
The blend: 85% Marsanne and 15% Roussanne. Why the addition of Roussanne? Marsanne is the star of the show, with intensity of orange blossom, beeswax and spice, add to that the subtle peach and apricot, then mid palate and length that the Roussanne brings to the wine comes through. Not many wines are as exotic and rich as this wine can be, or as age worthy: it will develop beautifully over 20 years, for sure.
One of my favorite Northern Rhone varietals is Marsanne. Coming from great vineyards in St. Joseph, Croze-Hermitage and my favorite Hermitage, where it truly shines. Producers such as Chave and Chapoutier make wines that set the bar.
To produce a wine of this caliber is nearly to impossible and trust me I have tried with fruit from many different California vineyards and never reached those heights. Then the opportunity came from Stagecoach, and I thought to myself: this vineyard has the minerality, the elevation, that being a mountain vineyard in the Atlas Peak AVA. Let’s give it one more try. My first vintage was in 2006 and by the 2007 vintage, I had decided this was the place. With some help from a few of my Northern Rhône wine heroes, I got it dialed in. The rest is history. I feel this is one of the greatest examples of Marsanne that has been made in California.
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