2018 KELLER Chardonnay La Cruz Vineyard Petaluma Gap

KELLER Chardonnay La Cruz Vineyard Petaluma Gap

¥6,820 (incl. tax)

The Petaluma Gap is a narrow swathe of southern Sonoma County between Bodega Bay (on the Pacific Ocean) and San Pablo Bay (the upper reach of San Francisco Bay). Because of the orientation of the hills and valleys, the winds are stronger and the fogs hang around longer than in the areas that surround it. The Petaluma Gap AVA was established in 2018 in order to recognize the effects (such as low yields and small berries) these harsh conditions have on the vineyards there and the wines they produce. The organically-farmed La Cruz vineyard is planted to diverse clones that provide a palette of distinct aromatics, flavors, or textures with which to assemble the blend. The winemaker then uses 100% barrel fermentation, sur lie aging, and complete malolactic fermentation. The result is a fine Chardonnay with bright acidity, lively fruit and spice notes, and a creamy texture. Allow the wine some time in the glass to reveal layers of citrus, apple, floral notes, and vanilla. 


Winery Description

Pinot Noir and Petaluma. 40 years ago, the received wisdom was that California Pinot Noir would never achieve the subtle brilliance of Burgundy and that Petaluma, home to dairy and chicken farmers, was far too cold for vineyards. Funny how things change. Indeed, California Pinots get better each year, and Petaluma may one day soon produce the very best. And that future may not be far off if the young Keller Estate continues down the path it is following.

 Keller Estate produces estate-grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (as well as Syrah and Pinot Gris) on a 650-acre property located southeast of Petaluma – near the borderline of the Sonoma Coast and Carneros AVAs. In these rolling hills, cooled by the fog that blows in through the Petaluma Gap as well as from San Pablo Bay, early ripening, “cool climate” grapes are the obvious choice. In the early 1980s, Arturo Keller, an auto engineer from Mexico, and his family founded the estate. They planted vineyards but sold the first vintages of Chardonnay to other wineries. Impressed by the quality of their fruit, they began making wine under their own label from 2000. Today every detail in the vineyards and winery is overseen by Arturo’s daughter, Ana, a trained bio-chemist.

 Keller Estate’s vineyards are planted in soils that show all the complexity of being a former seabed. The complexity of the wines is enhanced further by the 9 different clones of Pinot Noir, 4 clones of Chardonnay, and 2 clones of Syrah planted in the vineyards. The wines are crafted carefully and naturally in a stunning gravity-flow winery. 

But the key to understanding Keller Estate’s wines is their extreme cool-climate location. Though many vineyard areas in Sonoma and Napa Counties are cooled by fog and ocean breezes, in the Petaluma Gap the fog rolls in a bit earlier and out later; the temperature drops so rapidly, the grapes retain much more crisp acidity even as they ripen and develop rich, fruit flavors. Currently, the Petaluma Gap is within the Sonoma Coast AVA. But if the Kellers and other winegrowers continue to demonstrate the uniqueness of the microclimate and soils, it may become one in the future.

About this Wine

Country USA
Region California
Appellation(s) Petaluma Gap (Sonoma)
Winery Keller
Vintage 2018
Color White
Varietal(s) Chardonnay
Closure Cork
Volume 750ml
Bottle Size 8.5 x 30.5
Case Size 36.5 x 28.5 x 31.5
Alcohol 14.2%
Product Code KE18LCH
UPC 66223510111414

Owning & Enjoying

Tasting notes

90 points – Wine Enthusiast.

Tropical, stone fruit and vanilla notes introduce a rich and creamy palate of green apple, pear, and nutmeg, framed by bright acidity and wet stone minerality. 



Following night harvesting and whole-cluster pressing, the must was transferred to French oak barrels for primary and malolactic fermentation as well as about 11 months’ aging. The closure is Nomacorc 100, a synthetic, carbon-neutral, plant-based material that prevents oxidation and allows for long periods of cellaring.

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