Saturday, August 22, 2020

Reuling Sonoma Chardonnay Seafood Dinner

 Reuling Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2012 with Seabass and Walleye Seafood Dinner

For the second time this week, for our Friday evening 'date night', we dined at Carnivore & The Queen Supper Club to take in their Friday Walleye Fish and Chips Special. We also tried the Seabass seared in white wine butter with shallots and preserved lemons. To accompany our seafood entrees we took BYOB from our cellar this Reuling Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

The 'Alterior Motive' locally brewed Beer battered Walleye was superb, even better than the Seabass entree at 1.5 times the price. At $25, it is pricey for 'fish and chips', but worth it. It was complemented by equally superb batter fried onion rings.  

This was the inaugural release of estate bottled Chardonnay from the famous vineyard owned by Tim and Jackie Reuling. It is one of the most lauded vineyards in the region having sourced fruit for notable Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. 

Timothy and Jackie purchased the 16-acre Reuling property in 1998 and planted 14.4 acres in 2000 to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. For over a decade, the vineyard was a source for top flight producers including Aubert Wines and Peter Michael Winery. Wines sourced from the property have been awarded as high as 99 points by Robert Parker. 

Joined by winemaker Matt Taylor, they began producing their own label wines. Previously Taylor was winemaker and vineyard manager for Araujo Estates and has worked with Joseph Swan Vineyards and Domaine Dujac. He considers the Reuling Vineyard to be one of the great vineyard sites in California.

The Reuling Vineyard initially gained notoriety by its association wtih Mark Aubert. Aubert grew up in Napa wine country where his parents owned a vineyard. After getting a degree from University of California at Fresno in 1985 he worked at Monticello. His winemaking career was propelled by his association with legendary winemaker Helen Turley. He served a 12-year stint at Peter Michael where he followed Helen Turley and was appointed head winemaker there at 28 years old. Aubert succeeded Turley again several years later at Colgin Cellars. 

 Since then, Aubert has been a winemaking consultant for several prestigious wineries including Sloan, Bryant and Futo. He launched his own brand in 1999 and his vineyard-designated Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays quickly received critical acclaim. Aubert released his own wines with the 2000 vintage crafted from estate and leased vineyards in the Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast. 


Reuling Sonoma Coast Vineyard Chardonnay 2012

At eight years of age, this Chardonnay was at its apex and probably at the end of its peak drinking window, not likely to improve, but rather to start to diminish with further aging so its time to drink up. 

Wine Enthusiast gave this release 94 points and a "Cellar Selection" saying "this is one to cellar 2019-2024".

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar gave it 91 points, Connoisseurs Guide 90 points.

This was straw colored, medium bodied, with an interesting aroma and flavor tone of what I was having trouble characterizing, describing it as corn with hints of smoke. 

Later I read the Cellartracker post by Slywka from Conneticut who is a Certified Sommelier. Lo and behold, he wrote, "Aromas of nut, buttered popcorn, papaya and hint of flowers. Flavors of buttered popcorn, mango, vanilla, mineral and touch of banana. Ends with a buttered popcorn infused finish of 25+ seconds." He pegged what I was struggling to describe, that flavor of 'buttered popcorn". The rest of his tasting note sums it up aptly and well. 

Slywka gave it 93 points. I gave it 90, detracted by the non-fruit corn notes and hints of smoke. RM 90 points.