Week Two for the Three Sticks Chardonnay compare, contrast and the “What’s Not To Love About This?” adventure.
Last week I reviewed the Unoaked “Origin” Chardonnay for 2017. This week is the first of two of their current releases of oaked Chardonnays. This week I delve into the Three Sticks Sonoma Coast “Gap’s Crown” Vineyard Chardonnay 2017.
From the “Durell” Vineyard last week, we move Northwest onto the Western slope of Sonoma Mountain to their “Gap’s Crown” Vineyard. One of the cooler sites in their portfolio of vineyards. Important to point out is that the vineyard at “Gap’s Crown” is at elevations from 300’ to 800’. Make note of that as next week we explore their “One Sky” Vineyard. We get up to 1,400’, an unusually high elevation for Chardonnay, but what promises to show us a different side to the three Chardonnays being explored.
If you’re a big Pinot Noir or Chardonnay drinker, there’s a very good likelihood that you’ve heard or seen the name “Gap’s Crown.” Owned by Bill Price (owner of Three Sticks - see last week’s review for more specifics), with arrangements with other wineries to provide grapes from this site, this has developed into an iconic vineyard.
Variations between this and “Origin” are first and most obvious, the lack of oak aging on the “Origin,” it’s fermentation and aging done in Concrete Eggs and Stainless Steel, whereas the “Gap’s Crown” is fermented in 100% French Oak and sees a total of 11 months aging in 100% French Oak with 25% of that being new barrels. The “Gap’s Crown” also undergoes 100% Malolactic Fermentation versus none for the “Origin.” A little more technical differences are in soil composition and the type of clones used in each vineyard, but that’s getting to be too much information even for me! For more technical information on “Gap’s Crown” click here.
The Big Question! What’s the difference in taste?
A Big Question deserves a Big Answer. The answer is, “Gap’s Crown” is just that, BIGGER! Aromas that emerge from the glass of citrus, slight ginger, maybe a little honeysuckle and a wafting of that oak influence. Flavor carries with it more body and depth showing slightly less fresh fruit as the “Origin” did, as would be expected by their differences. Creamy with a touch of stone fruit quality and a toastiness of oak, makes your palate stand up and take notice that you are being treated to a wonderful wine. A lasting finish that gives you all the nuances of the wine in a superbly balanced creation.
It paired well with my dinner I had planned for the wine. Knowing that I had a bigger wine, I went a little bigger on the food. Salmon that I cooked for the first time under slow roasting conditions with a Citrus Salsa Verde accompanied by broccoli and sauteed potatoes. I had a slight concern about too much citrus in the Salsa Verde, but downplaying those ingredients helped make it “just right.” Sounds a little “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” Wait, three bears, three sticks, hey, I manged to work in a funny.
One last item both the “Origin” and the “Gap’s Crown” share is their small production. Good news is there is slightly more of the “Gap’s Crown” made, so at the moment the wine is available by contacting the winery directly. If you’re a fan of big rich Chardonnays, get yourself some of this, I don’t expect it to be out there for much longer. I’d also throw in that at $55 a bottle, it stands up against high-end Chardonnays costing much more.
Stay tuned next Monday for the third installment of this series culminating with the Three Sticks Sonoma Mountain “One Sky” Chardonnay 2017. Until then,