Review: Chalk Hill 2018 Sauvignon Blanc and 2016 Estate Red, Chalk Hill AVA
Sonoma’s iconic Chalk Hill Winery recently dropped two new releases, both from the Chalk Hill AVA from which the winery draws it’s name. We’re happy to delve into here following our delightful, recent tour and lunch on the property. Let’s give them a whirl!
2018 Chalk Hill Sauvignon Blanc Chalk Hill AVA – This sauvignon blanc melds the best of two worlds — the grassy, mineral-heavy character of California and the tropical-heavy fruitiness of New Zealand sauvignon blanc. The combination works well, kicking off with a punch of sweetness before letting a gently herbal, pastoral character take the reins. A healthy lemon peel note lingers on the finish, however, giving the wine a significant brightness. With time in glass, notes of peaches and orange blossoms emerge, giving the wine a new complexity and a sharp, citrus lift. Long on the finish, with fruit that builds and builds, it’s a definite go-to bottling for California sauvignon blanc. A / $33
2016 Chalk Hill Estate Red Chalk Hill AVA – (Note this is the black label estate-grown blend, not the more budget-priced white label “Red Wine.”) A blend of grapes from Chalk Hill’s Sonoma estate: 47% cabernet sauvignon, 37% malbec, 9% petit verdot, and 7% merlot. Like many of Chalk Hill’s higher-end bottlings, this is still on the youthful side, and your patience is rewarded by letting it open up. Initially a bit tight and informed by moderate-to-heavy tannic notes of graphite, tar, and leather, the wine ever so slowly reveals notes of dried berries, cassis, and plum. Earthy and dense on the finish, it lingers on the tongue with notes of charred barbecue and mushroom pate. I’m sure this will be delicious in 2025, but it’s still got plenty going for it today if you can’t wait. A- / $70