I've been loving our most recent white wine selection, 2020 Cienega Valley Chardonnay from the Eden Rift Vineyard made by Branden Hamby of Hamby Cellars.
In our 60th release we featured a 2020 Eden Rift Pinot Noir, also made by Branden Hamby. Eden Rift is the oldest continually producing vineyard in the state, cultivating wine grapes since it was established in 1849. They have 120 acres under vine, and the property sits directly on top of the San Andreas fault line in a beautiful slice of California that feels particularly Steinbecky.
In 1906 the property was further developed by John Dickinson, at which point he hired Frank Lloyd Wright's partner Walter Burley Griffin to design a residence for the property. That residence is where current proprietor Christian Pillsbury lives today.
I love this bottling because it is rich and textured and creamy while still maintaining acid and bright fruit. A perfect middle ground for Chardonnay lovers and skeptics alike.
A few notes on some of the terms used in describing the wine.
Organic Practices - We work with a lot of wineries that are organic in practice but not CCOF certified. Some wineries choose to not pursue certification because of the thought that it is tedious and expensive to maintain. Others don't want to certify because they want to be able to use mildewcide or other non-certified agents in the vineyard depending on circumstances. For all intents and purposes, these folks believe in organic farming and give their vines the attention befitting that designation.
Native Fermentation - Almost all wines we work with are natively fermented, meaning that the fruit goes through fermentation without inoculation by a commercial yeast in the winery. The grapes enter the winery with native yeasts, the winery has its own culture of yeasts, and after the wines are picked and initially crushed, they will begin to ferment on their own. You open yourself to more potential flaws in working this way, as ferments can take longer to kick off and you expose yourself to bacterial or fungal flaws. But with clean equipment and consistent attention you give yourself an end product more reflective of the place the fruit grew in and where the wine was made.
33% New Oak - You'll see a lot of wines describe some mix of new and neutral oak in describing their barrel regimen. Oak is great for adding creamy, buttery notes to white wines like Chardonnay, and vanilla, caramel notes to big reds like Cabernet. Once a barrel has been used for one or two vintages (years), it loses its capacity to imbue oak on a new wine and becomes a neutral vessel. Say there were 12 barrels of this wine made and 4 of them were new. All those wines are blended together prior to bottling and you have a 33% new oak wine.
I love this wine with fried chicken (see Village Rotisserie's
sandwich in Noe Valley), grilled fish tacos (see Hook Fish
in the Outer Sunset), or a nice creamy Caesar salad.
Should you wish to buy more of this wine, please do so below! Active members (placed an order within the last 3 months) can use the code HOOKITUP! to see bottle prices of $12/per for past releases, while the wine is available for one-off purchasers for $20/bottle.