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91 Pts. Wine Enthusiast
"Fully integrated in oak and fruit, this medium-bodied vineyard-designate is fleshy in fig, anise and vanilla. Textured and dense, it expands on the palate to show a great generosity of expression and personality." Virginie Boone - Contributing Editor The Person: William Hill (Owner and vineyard developer).
The Place: The Bellflower vineyard and others developed by vineyard icon Bill Hill in the cool Russian River Valley.
The Story: Expression Wines are just that – expressions of the terroir found at different latitudes along the west coast of the US. Expression 44° is Eola-Amity Hills in Oregon. Expression 39° is Anderson Valley in Mendocino County. Expression 34° is Santa Rita Hills in California’s Central Coast. And Expression 38° is the Sonoma Coast (which includes the Russian River Valley). Bill Hill developed and for the most part has subsequently sold vineyards in all these area but he continues to buy fruit from his “grown children” with which to make these wines which he feels are the very Expression of the terroir found in these sites.
The Wine: A 14.35 alcohol, barrel-fermented 100% Chardonnay with full malo-lactic fermentation aged 12-months on-the-lees (with lees stirring – aka batonage) in all French oak barrels (20% new) and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Golden yellow straw in color with well-formed legs; dry, medium-full-bodied with fresh acidity and very light phenolics. Classic, Russian River Chardonnay with spicy oak and good freshness. Ripe citrus and peach with notes of tree (apple, pear) and tropical fruit (banana, pineapple). The supple oak and bit of mushroomy earth integrate in nicely. Splits the difference between “food wine” and “cougar juice.”