Davis Bynum River West Vineyard Chardonnay 2018
The 2018 vintage opens with crème brûlée, mineral and floral aromas with notes of baked apple pie, marzipan, toasted marshmallow and floral flavors. The palate is rich and creamy but with substantial acidity leaving a lingering zip of acidity on the long finish.
Enjoy this Chardonnay with a variety of salty cheeses, vegetable ravioli, grilled pork chops or creamy soups.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
This is a tangy, well-integrated and balanced wine, rich in style yet underpinned by elegance. Green apple, Meyer lemon and wet stone accent a weighty structure, with toasted oak, nutmeg and a slight hint of crème brûlée lingering on the close
Aromas of lemon peel, fresh herbs and white peaches. Medium-bodied with good weight and texture. Delicate, but structured and long. Very bright acidity. Drink or hold.
Tense and gingery, this wine’s pear-like fruit has a rainwater clarity. It’s as smooth as river stones and as brisk as the water coursing over them. A youthful 2018 for grilled trout. Best Buy
The Davis Bynum Winery story begins in 1951 when Davis Bynum, then a young newspaper man for the San Francisco Chronicle, bought 50 pounds of grapes from Robert Mondavi and made 3.5 gallons of petite sirah. "It wasn't a great wine," says Davis, "but then we drank it all before it was six months old!"
In 1971, Davis acquired vineyard land in the Napa Valley, near St. Helena. After unsuccess-fully attempting to build a winery on the property in 1973 (due to a moratorium on new winery construction by the Napa county planning commission), the Bynum Family -- Davis' wife Dorothy, son Hampton and daughter Susan -- purchased the 83-acre River Bend Ranch in the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County. On the property was a 1950's hop kiln which the Bynum Family converted into the winery and permanent home. "A friend convinced us to come over to the Russian River Valley. You can grow better grapes there anyway," Bynum chuckled.
In the first few years of operation at the new winery, grapes were hauled over from Napa and crushed along with local Russian River Valley fruit. This ended when the Napa property was sold off in 1976. During this period, the Bynum Family made their first pinot noir -- the 1973 Davis Bynum Pinot Noir from the Rochioli Vineyard was the first ever pinot to carry a Russian River designation.
Today, Davis Bynum Winery crushes about 250 to 275 ton of grapes annually (which makes about 15,000 cases of wine), bottling premium varietals under the Davis Bynum label. It is still family oriented: Davis oversees the vineyards and finances, though he now leaves winemaking decisions in the capable hands of Gary Farrell. His son, Hampton, oversees the daily operations at the winery as well as sales, and is responsible for product development. During harvest, Hampton helps with winemaking. Dorothy, Davis' wife, oversees the landscaping and a building improvement program.
A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.