Ryo-fu Chardonnay

Ryo-fu is Japanese for “cool breeze,” a fitting name for this Russian  River Valley Chardonnay shaped by the chilly winds that blow in from the Pacific Ocean. Our local ryo-fu, along with the region’s famous fog and sandy soils, create ideal growing conditions for this Chardonnay.

Similar to the spectacular 2018 vintage, we harvested the Chardonnays for the 2019 Ryo-fu at the end of September, so the grapes enjoyed a long, even growing season.

Heintz Ranch and Searby Vineyard provided the largest components for  the 2019 blend. Heintz is located just southeast of the town of Occidental, on the western edge of the Russian River Valley appellation. Freeman has  purchased the same block of Chardonnay from Charlie Heintz since 2003,  and his are the oldest vines (planted in 1982) that we work with. Infusing Ryo-fu with elegant, stone fruit and Old World character, the Heintz Chardonnay could easily stand alone as a vineyard designate, but we love how  it works in this blend. The Searby Vineyard on Occidental Road, another excellent site farmed by Charlie Heintz, contributed eight out of 30 barrels to this year’s blend. Grapes from KR Ranch in the Green Valley sub-appellation of the Russian River Valley provided the backbone of acidity to the 2019 Ryo-fu, as well as subtle fruit aromas.

The subtle nose of the 2019 Ryo-fu combines elements of Gravenstein apples, nutmeg and lemon zest. An equally subtle palate follows, with a soft, lush and seamless texture, full of gorgeous stone fruit flavors. Moderate acidity stays in the background, but comes on strong in the long finish. Expect this wine to be at its best from mid-2021 through 2025. If you plan to open it soon, be sure to give it plenty of air to enhance its pretty aromas.

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  • 50% Heintz Ranch
  • 27% Searby
  • 23% Keefer
  • UCD 4 and Rued
Barrel Aging
10 months in French oak:
  • 10% new
  • 90% mostly neutral
July 2020
Fermented in barrel and aged on lees.
  • 750 ml: 596 cases


93 points


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