2021 FLOWERS Chardonnay Sonoma Coast

FLOWERS Chardonnay Sonoma Coast

¥10,780 (incl. tax)

Over three decades ago, Flowers Winery planted their vineyards in the rugged northwest corner of Sonoma County, which had long been considered too cold, wet, or extreme for wine growing. It wasn’t easy, but today Flowers produces some of the county’s most distinctive Chardonnay wines that delight with balance, pure fruit, freshness, minerality, and bright acidity. The 2020 vintage year was a challenge as winter rains were few - even at the coast. However, while yields, grape clusters, and berries came in smaller than usual, the fruit showed outstanding purity, complex flavors, and dense textures. Inside the winery, low-impact methods, such as native yeast fermentation, low sulphur additions, and a mix of stainless steel and neutral French oak barrels allowed the inherent qualities of the fruit to shine. Awarding this wine 93 points, James Suckling called it “a linear and tight white with sliced lemon and green apple, as well as hints of honeysuckle. Medium body with a creamy texture and a salty, jasmine undertone to the fruit at the finish. Solid. Phenolics.” The wine’s bright acidity and freshness suggest excellent pairing with raw or lightly cooked shellfish, seafood terrines, or creamy risotto with scallops.


Winery Description

One trend in California winemaking has been a push toward growing grapes on increasingly marginal lands ever closer to the Pacific Ocean. The reasoning is simple: cooler temperatures allow grapes to ripen slowly while retaining acidity, which is particularly desirable in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay if they are to achieve Burgundian levels of excellence. But when Walt and Joan Flowers purchased land on a remote ridge in northern Sonoma County just two miles from the Pacific Ocean, they may have pushed the envelope just a little too far. After all, cool temperatures are less than welcome if grapes can’t get ripe. (Just ask the folks in Chablis or Champagne how easy it is to make wine in their respective climates!) Fortunately, it soon became clear that their 350 - 550 meter ridge really was a “warm site in a cool climate” – well above the fog line but cooled by ocean breezes. Moreover, the volatile geology of the Pacific coast has blessed their land with shallow soils teeming with sandstone, schist, greywacke and greenstone. Hence, the long growing season from the maritime climate coupled with the rocky soils that stress the vines results in low yields of intensely flavored grapes that grow in tight bunches of small berries – just perfect for making the kind of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that encouraged Walt and Joan Flowers to leave their home in Ohio to pursue a dream of making wine.  

 Situated upon two ridges in the northern part of the Sonoma Coast AVA, Flowers Vineyard and Winery grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in one of the highest vineyards on the United States. Camp Meeting Ridge Vineyard (so named because the Native Americans used to gather there for the summer months) consists of 21 acres of Chardonnay and 8 acres of Pinot Noir that were planted in 1991. The Sea View Ridge Vineyard is somewhat higher in elevation and even closer to the ocean (though still “a warm spot in a cool climate); it was planted to 41 acres of Pinot Noir and a smidgen of Pinot Meunier in 1998. 

 In the vineyards and winery, Flowers employs a range of cutting edge methods. The vineyards are planted with 4 clones of Chardonnay and 11 clones of Pinot Noir and are farmed sustainably and organically without irrigation. The winery utilizes gravity instead of pumps to move wines from tank to barrel. Winemaking employs hand sorting, cold soaking, extended maceration, fermenting with native yeasts, aging in new French oak, lees aging and lees stirring (in the case of Chardonnay) and whole-cluster fermentation (for some Pinot Noirs). The results of such painstaking attention to detail are critically acclaimed wines that are aromatic and flavorful, complex and provocative and that have enough structure, acid and minerality to capture the essence of the extreme coastal terroir. 

About this Wine

Country USA
Region California
Appellation(s) Sonoma Coast
Winery Flowers
Vintage 2021
Color White
Varietal(s) Chardonnay
Closure Cork
Volume 750ml
Bottle Size 8.5 x 30.0
Case Size 36.0 x 27.5 x 30.5
Alcohol 13.5%
Product Code FL21SC
UPC 859369001605

Owning & Enjoying

Tasting notes

93 points – James Suckling. 

Bright citrus, white nectarine, and green apple mingle with hints of spice and tropicality. A creamy body outlines layers of bright fruit and coastal minerality. The finish is flavorful, lingering with mineral notes and spice. 



The wine was fermented on native yeasts in barrel, followed by 10 months aging in 18% new French oak — without battonage.

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