Boy, do I have special “Wine of the Week” postings for all of you. Well, to be honest, it was a phenomenal opportunity for me that I will just have to try the best I can to communicate just how special this is.
Recently, I was able to get my hands on three fantastic Chardonnays from a winery no stranger to my “Wine of the Week.” Focusing on some exceptional Sonoma Coast vineyards, Three Sticks Wines, is led by Owners Bill and Eva Price and wines crafted by Director of Winemaking, Bob Cabral. The winery was founded in 2002, and named after William S. Price III surfing nickname “Billy Three Sticks.” The name given to him due to the Roman numerals following his name.
I first encountered the winery many years ago at the wine shop. What made me take note was that I knew Bill Price was a co-owner of Kistler Vineyards, and at the time had an interest in Kosta Brown. Wines that attained almost an instant cult wine reputation. Since that time he has added other very recognizable names to his resume, one of the most notable being Gary Farrell Winery. Here I was being able to buy for the wine shop wines that I had no doubt would follow suit and be considered among the best. Bill Price organized the business under the name of Price Family Vineyards, or PFV for short. Bringing two more wineries under their wing, Lutum Wines and Head High Wines, the latter being their more casual wine offerings.
Staring at three wines from the same winery, yet three distinct and different offerings. The plan came to my mind immediately to bring each one to you as a “Wine of the Week” for three consecutive posts. Doing my best to bring to you, my faithful readers (a little thick I know), each wine and the characteristics and nuances therein.
First up this week is the Three Sticks Sonoma Coast “Origin” Chardonnay 2017 from their Single-Vineyard Durell Estate. What makes this wine intriguing is that the wine is “unoaked.” Durell is their most Southern Vineyard and is prized for the wines, both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, that are produced from the vineyard. Instead of fermenting in oak, the wine is fermented on the lees in Concrete Eggs to better maintain a level of creaminess and retain the fresh fruit flavors. It’s not allowed to undergo Malolactic Fermentation to retain the crisp acidity of the wine as well. Another 11 months aging, again in Concrete Eggs and Stainless Steel, helps integrate the wine to more fully develop into this wonderful wine.
So what did all this bring me, and ultimately to you if you are smart and lucky enough to try and wrestle up the wine? (Might be difficult as the wine has sold out at the winery as ONLY 181 cases were produced. No promises, but it couldn’t hurt to call the winery should you not be able to locate it elsewhere. Who knows? I know someone there at the winery will read this and wonder what the heck was I thinking. Not to worry, I’ve talked to them on many occasions and everyone there is so nice.)
Such a beautiful wine right out of the bottle. Aromas that hint of orange and maybe a little pineapple with a slight honeyed influence. On the palate, you feel the crisp acidity balanced, by the slight creaminess of texture. The fresh tropical fruit dancing and lingering even after it is gone from your mouth. Reminders of what I had just tasted beckoning me to lift my glass time and again to enjoy and savor the wine. Rather than compare this wine to a great Grand Cru Chablis, I would take note and say that the producers of Grand Cru Chablis’ should look to this wine for their inspiration. For more information on the wine click here.
What type of wine reviewer would I be should I not reflect on my decision as to what would be a proper and fitting meal for this auspicious wine? If that doesn’t work, then how about I just tell you what I ate?
Knowing the wine to be “unoaked,” I tallied a bit but finally settled on a favorite of mine, that when prepared with the right accompaniment, would pair joyously. Scallops with rice and garnished with an orange sauce. I did “adjust” one item on the menu. I was going to make risotto rather than just rice, but having been on my feet all day pouring at a wine tasting, rice seemed a better way to go. A bit lazy, but 5 hours on my feet and then bent over the stove for another hour making risotto, I felt it would still be fine. It was!
Next week I’ll be bringing you their Gap’s Crown Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2017.
One last item that you may have on your mind. 2017 saw some of the worst fires around the Sonoma area. The good news for Three Sticks was that all the grapes were picked and the wine was in barrel before the fires. I can confirm, I tasted no “smoke taint” on the wine.