Lalivara "Anfora" Chardonnay 2018
Alexander Valley, Sonoma County
A world premier, organic, micro-production Chardonnay from Chalk Hill, Sonoma!
I was introduced to this bottling in perhaps the most intimate of ways. A devoted fan and customer of Prologue also happens to make wine from five acres of pristine vineyards at the northern end of Chalk Hill, overlapping Alexander Valley in Sonoma County.
We're always on the hunt for small family estates such as this. Their Chardonnay is farmed organically; in fact they're in the process of converting to full biodynamic farming. This is natural wine with a small "n" – zero manipulation, zero chemicals, and its processes call back an ancient way of winemaking practiced for centuries.
The Chardonnay is fermented in clay amphorae from natural yeasts. Long before our modern society fermented and aged in oak barrels, clay was the ubiquitous vessel throughout antiquity. They were so easy and cheap to make that they would often be smashed to pieces once they reached their destination rather than shipped back! Evidence of terra cotta amphorae has been found from Rome to the river Tiber, going back some 8000 years.
Fermenting in amphora produces broad, complex flavors without adding anything extraneous. This Chardonnay is subtly floral, with lemon pith, Asian pear, white blossom, and that distinctive Chalk Hill volcanic minerality. I adore Chardonnay like this – subtle, crisp, yet rich in all the right ways. Roasted chicken with lemon and herbs never had it so good.
They enlist the talented Cabell Coursey to make the wine. Trained in Burgundy, he spent years at various ultra-premium wineries: DuMol, Kosta Browne, and the legendary Alder Springs Vineyard. His talent shows through clean and bright.
You won't find this natural, boutique Chardonnay anywhere else. Cheers!