2017 Maritana Chardonnay, Sonoma County, LA RIVIÈRE 

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The Wine

Pulled a magical 2017 Maritana Chardonnay Sonoma County Russian River LA RIVIÈRE (meaning the river, Russian River) from the cellar for dinner last night. 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 have come to enjoy his solid Chardonnay’s as they are “totally astonishing”. 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.

The Food and Wine Pairing

I am notorious for just “winging it” in the kitchen. Tonight was one of the rare times I actually followed a recipe! Found a small cut of fresh Swordfish and wanted it make sure it was cooked correctly. Found a recipe in Epicurious and went for it. The recipe included       butter (room temperature), chopped fresh parsley, minced garlic, ground peppercorns, grated lemon peel and olive oil. I also added just a few dried pepper flakes. Salt and pepper to taste. It involved using an ovenproof skillet and cooking one side. Then flipping it over and transferring it to the oven. Once cooked the butter sauce (and ingredients) are browned and poured over the swordfish to be served. The 2017 Maritana Chardonnay with its heavy viscosity and mouth filling flavors paired nicely with fresh flavorful Swordfish.

For a complete story on Donald Patz’s wines see: 


This wine has made my Best Wines of the Year for the last two years in the $51 and up category. If you like a “high end wine” but don’t want to pay $100, this is wine to get.







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