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Today's Wine:

2012 Townley Chardonnay

2012 Townley Chardonnay Alder Springs Vyd, Mendocino *Sojourn's ★

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Today's Wine Comments:

We don’t want downplay the winemaker and his team; after all Townley was recently named as one of the “New Stars of California Chardonnay” by the Wine Enthusiast. And for good reason—vintner Randal Towney Bennett also works as Assistant Winemaker at famed Sojourn Cellars as well as fashioning beautiful wines under this, his own, super limited label.

But just as much attention must be foisted upon the vineyard itself in this case. Alder Springs is a flat-out amazing site, planted with a number of grape varieties though increasingly known as one of the best sources for cool-climate, Chablis-style Chardonnay.

From the New York Times: “About 12 miles to the west, visible from the 2,700-foot apex, is the Mendocino Coast. To the northeast is the snow-covered Yolla Bolly Range of the Klamath Mountains. But nowhere within miles of Alder Springs do you see other vineyards, which makes it one of the more unusual vineyards in California, if not the world…But the grapes grown here have attracted a who’s who of contemporary California winemakers. Arnot-Roberts bought grapes from Alder Springs, as has Rhys Vineyards for its Alesia négociant label. Jason Kesner of Kistler Vineyards bought chardonnay for his Kesner label. Dirty & Rowdy, Pax Mahle, Patz & Hall, Y. Rousseau, Bedrock, Flowers and Cruse Wine Company are among those that also bought grapes.”
In keeping with this vineyard’s lean, elegant and graceful reputation, Townley’s 2012 Chardonnay was made in a Chablis style with an emphasis on minerality and bright acidity. Bennett fermented this Chard in French Oak, although just 20% was new, and there is not even a whiff of noteable oaky seasoning. Awash in winter citrus warmed by a hint of hazelnut, this scintillating Chardonnay is gorgeous with oysters and shellfish.
With a focus on itty bits lots of boutique wines and maintaining a philosophy of traditional winemaking and grape growing, Townley makes up for its size in scope and sheer quality. It’s exactly because of this type of artisan producer that we got into the business in the first place!

Reasons why we love it:

Alder Springs Vineyard is one of the state’s most remote sites for fine wine. It takes an hour by car to reach this far-flung locale from the nearest vineyard.

This small estate was founded by Randal Towney Bennett and wife Lindsay Marie Bennett, a couple obsessed with wine since their early days. Randall is currently assistant winemaker at Sojourn Cellars where he spends most of his time while not at work on his own family label.

2012 was rated the best vintage yet by Robert Parker in his Wine Advocate for Chardonnay in California's North Coast. The vintage offered ideal ripening conditions resulting in balanced, vivacious Chardonnay.

Lovely balance of minerality, austerity and fruit. On the nose, delicate herbal aromas of pineapple and key lime zest. A round marbled texture and bright acid is integrated with a hint of oak to create a balanced Chardonnay on the mid palate. Finishing with long lasting notes of honeyed tangerine and white nectarine. Rich yet delicate, this chardonnay will be a sublime pairing with seafood like scallops, shrimp or beurre blanc sauce. 

From the winery...

Townley is a boutique winery focused on producing specialized small lots of artisan wines. Our philosophy emphasizes the vineyard and traditional winemaking methods to produce wines expressive of the grapes’ true nature and potential. Our fruit is selected from the finest California vineyards.  Townley is a family winery with a focus on producing world-class wines.  Our wine labels are themed with personal photos of towns from our travels that inspire us. We hope you enjoy both the labels and the wines!

Crab cakes or a lean poultry such as a tarragon chicken salad will complement this wine nicely.

Wine Ratings

94 Insider Points

Wine Reviews

The 2012 Chardonnay from Townley is a project of Randy Bennett, the talented winemaker at Sojourn, and is sourced from the Alder Springs Vineyard in Mendocino.  Fresh tropical fruit blends with lemon custard and baking spice on the broad palate, uplifted by a brisk citrus acidity and creamy texture.  A great example of domestic Chardonnay from one of the great local winemakers.  Enjoy now through 2019. - DZ Jan 2017

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