The Coppola Director’s Sonoma County Chardonnay 2012 is sourced from vineyards located in several of Sonoma’s 16 sub-AVA’s. There are two Director’s Chardonnay, this one, sourced from all over Sonoma County and another sourced from a single AVA, the Sonoma Coast. The Sonoma County Chard lists for $17 (and is often discounted) the single AVA Sonoma Coast should be a few dollars higher. The 2012 vintage was excellent with terrific grapes and large yields, so there were plenty of top-quality grapes to go around. 25% of this Chardonnay was fermented in stainless steel tanks, the remaining 75% was fermented in oak barrels, 90% French and 10% Hungarian (French and Hungarian oak are the same species, American oak is a different species), 20% new wood barrels, the rest used before. A portion of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation. One thing I always hear, when talking to people about Chardonnay is that someone says, ” I don’t like oaked Chardonnay“. As if Chardonnay comes in only 2 varieties, oaked and unoaked. Chardonnay is the wine-makers wine, every winery makes it a bit different from the next. Where the grapes were grown, which clones are used, malolactic fermentation?, all, partial or none, no oak, some oak, all oak, French oak or other oak, new barrel or different stages of used barrels, “on lees” or no “on lees” and maybe stirred “on lees”, and I didn’t mention everything that a wine-maker can do to Chardonnay. Think of Chardonnay only in terms of oaked and unoaked and you miss out on a whole world of very interesting and eminently drinkable Chardonnay. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is a golden wheat yellow. The nose is peach, pear, spice and honey, with a touch of magnolia. This Chardonnay has a creamy mouthfeel, counterbalanced by tart citrus on the mid-palate. It starts with Golden delicious apple, lime, lemon, a little peaches in cream and pear. The mid-palate adds tart grapefruit and melon. The acidity gives this Chardonnay excellent length, the flavors hold their place for some time. The finish is tart and lengthy.
The Coppola Director’s Sonoma County is a fine Chardonnay, tasty, well structured, versatile, goes well with food or just drink it just because. This is a Chardonnay with a lot going for it, good body, intriguing flavors, it is made with finesse, it is an all around solid wine. If you are someone who says, “I don’t like oaked Chardonnay”, try this one, it possesses all the details that oak conditioning imparts into Chardonnay, with none of the heavy, cloying butter flavors that old school Chardonnay can have. It just might turn out that you are not an unoaked Chardonnay person, but actually, a 20% stainless steel, 75% oak barrel, 90% French oak and 10% Hungarian oak, with 20% new barrel and the rest of the barrels used at least once before, with a portion of the wine undergoing malolactic fermentation, kind of person.
this bottle received as a sample