Dinner last night with a magical 2017 Maritana Chardonnay Sonoma County Russian River LA RIVIÈRE (meaning the river, Russian River). While Donald Patz had many years ago produced Chardonnay’s he has been known as an industry leader for his Pinot Noir’s (Dr Pinot!). I was expecting a good solid wine, but what my palate tasted was “total astonishment”. First on the eyes, a bright clarity and ethereal straw golden yellow color. It was a refined and delicate Chardonnay with hints of soft lemon custard and a Red Delicious apple, mildly sweet with a caramel finish. As the wine settles in the back of mouth, a minerality of a babbling brook or creek came to mind. This wine was of another spectrum of quality found only in wines in a much higher in price range ($100). LA RIVIÈRE is a blend of 55% Dutton Ranch Shop Block, 22% Martinelli River Road Vineyard and 18% Susanna’s Vineyard and finally 5% Ritchie Vineyard for the 2017. It uses 90% once and twice used French oak barrels and 10% new French oak barrels. It is sur lies aged and goes through 100% malolactic fermentation. Donald’s Chardonnay’s will continue to develop complexity while aging over 5 to 8 years (stored properly). This wine reminded me of the higher end Kistler Chardonnay or Peter Michael Chardonnay, specifically La Carriere. The current release and price for LA RIVIÈRE is $55 for the 2018.
Garlicky shrimp with broccoli, served over spinach fettucine noodles and topped with toasted Panko crumbs with lemon zest and parmesan cheese. Additional baby asparagus and a fresh garden salad were served for a delightful pairing.
For a complete story on Donald Patz’s wines see: https://californiawinesandwineries.com/2018/12/06/maritana-vineyards-four-aces-on-the-first-vintage/