The 2013 Upper Barn, a vineyard that Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer made famous, spends 11 months in 49% new French oak and is fermented with indigenous yeasts. This is all Old Wente clone material, planted in 1982, so it’s among the older Chardonnay vineyards in Northern California. This wine always seems to have great acidity and loads of orange blossom, marmalade, honeysuckle and lemon blossom characteristics. The 2013 Upper Barn Vineyard (963 cases) is a beauty and certainly one of my favorites of this group. Stonestreet continues to build wines that show less emphasis on toasty new oak and more emphasis on vineyard site, fruit quality, and overall harmony and elegance. They make two Sauvignon Blancs, seven Chardonnays and five Cabernet Sauvignons, all from the Alexander Valley high-elevation hillside vineyards of the Jackson family. (RP)
Lemon peel, white pepper, flowers and mint are all found in the 2013 Chardonnay Upper Barn. Next to the other wines in the range, the Upper Barn comes across as a bit compact, but it is quite pretty and expressive just the same. The Upper Barn emerges from one of the higher blocks on the property. Stonestreet is one of the crown jewels in the vast Jackson Family Estates empire. Winemaker Lisa Valtenbergs is now running the show at Stonestreet's Alexander Mountain Estate. There are plenty of highlights among these new releases. The 2013 Chardonnays are essays into the different blocks and clonal selections that are planted throughoutthe property. Although the wines are strong, I am not sure the seven bottlings are meaningfully different from each other. The 2012 reds are all impressive. In this vintage the forward, fruit-driven personality of the year dominates, while some of the more typical savory/mineral signatures take a back seat. Frankly, it is a shame these wines are not better known. (AG)
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