Lot 286 | 2017 Rutz Maison Grand Cru Russian River Valley Chardonnay 750ml

Lot 286 | 2017 Rutz Maison Grand Cru Russian River Valley Chardonnay 750ml

Lets get the ugly part out of the way here, shall we? This wine originally scored 85-points in the Wine Enthusiast. However, it was scored just three-months after it was bottled and clearly out of sorts, so I recommend you take that review with a grain of salt.

Nevertheless, the wine we have in front of us today is a different animal, having knit itself together beautifully in the meantime. Clearly this is professional grade material.

Selling out of the tasting room for $45/bottle, its yours today for just $16/bottle.

The source vineyards for this wine is the legendary Baciagalupi Ranch (source for the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that took the famous Judgement of Paris) Wente Clone Chardonnay. The wine was 100% barrel-fermented and aged in 50% new French oak. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered so it has a cloudy visage but superlative aromatics.

Amber with viscosity and slightly hazy, it presents a dense bouquet of fruit and rock. Apple and pear launch the aromas but open to reveal nectarine, spicy blossoms and beeswax haloed by pineapple, honeycomb and a prominent limestone note. Pure Burgundy, the bouquet is powerful, dense, still unwinding. The entry is dense, opulent, viscous - as palate staining as white wine gets. It's creamy throughout and redolent with orchard fruit, baked pineapple and while lilies. While exceptionally viscous, it is at the same time perfectly-balanced with a countervailing austerity of rock and sustaining minerality which contribute fantastic purity and length.

As pretty as it this wine is now both aromatically and on the palate, the monolithic structure here is just beginning to unwind...there's a lot more complexity to come.

Check-in tasting 1.23.2023: About a week back, I happened to notice the bottle in my office had gone perfectly clear, no sign of any imperfections - I high tailed it down to the cellar to check out some more bottles; clear, same as the one upstairs. To my utter surprise they were all pristine looking. It was time to taste.

The 2017 Rütz Chard is a wine geek's wine; not a stainless steel expression, and not a buttered popcorn oak bomb. It falls on the spectrum reserved for the best expressions of this grape with a very strong sense of place. With a bouquet of lemon blossom white florals seamlessly integrated with fresh-sliced pineapple accented by waves of baked apple tart and Bosch pear. The entry is immediate and mouth watering with exceptionally balanced medium+ acidity dancing amongst citrus and a bit of toasted marshmallow. Moving to the finish, it's strikingly dry for a Cali Chard, almost Burgundian in the perfectly interwoven and non-muscular oak regime that quietly tapers off, then roars back with waves of spiced toast umami that carry on with great length.

100% Chardonnay
100% Russian River Valley
50% new French oak - Allier and Troncais
14% alc.

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