The two vintages of Chardonnay I tasted come from the Jos. Belli Vineyard in Russian River. The 2015 Chardonnay Jos. Belli Vineyards was made from small yields, and according to Dick Arrowood, it is one of the top three vintages in his 50 years of experience. This wine offers loads of peach, honeysuckle, delicate apricot, caramelized citrus and apple blossom in a full-bodied, rich, discreetly oaked style. It is long, promising and super-concentrated. If this is an example of just how strong many 2015s will be, we’re in for another treat from Northern California. It’s hard to believe that Dick Arrowood, who starred at Château St. Jean in the 1970s, has logged 50 years of winemaking in Northern California, primarily in Sonoma. He pretty much put Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese-styled Rieslings on the map, developed an ambitious program at Château St. Jean for single vineyard Chardonnays, and gets little credit as one of the early pioneers and believers in the Rhône Ranger movement. I had a chance to taste with him at his winery just north of Sonoma, and there’s no resting on his laurels, even after a career that started in 1965 and continues 50+ years later. (RP)
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