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Included As One Of Robert Parker’s “World Class Wineries”

Single Vineyard Greatness From Radio-Coteau

Chardonnay from California does not get better. Radio-Coteau and owner winemaker Eric Sussman make some of the greatest expressions of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay made in California today. When it comes to North Coast Pinot Noir and Chardonnay producers was included in the list of ‘world class producers: Aubert, DuMOL, Hartford Court, Marcassin, Martinelli, Morlet Family Vinyards, Paul Hobbs, Peter Michael, Radio-Coteau, Rochioli. Sussman over-achieved with his spectacular 2012 Radio-Coteau Chardonnay Savoy, getting 95pts by Parker . From Anderson Valley’s cooler climate, ideal for growing Chardonnay of the absolute finest order. 2012 is going to be one California’s top vintages and Eric was able to spectacular fruit flavors both in the nose and the palate. Eric comments that, “The palate comes like a tidal wave”. To match the wine has excellent acidity keeping the wine in balance and not cloying. This is a great Chardonnay that rivals the absolute finest. Very Limited!

“The following California wineries* could be called up-and-coming, although some of them have already attained stardom. There are others I could include, but the most interesting characteristic of these producers is that, with several exceptions, none were making wine in 1990!” — Robert Parker: Radio Coteau Winery.

*North Coast, for Pinot Noir & Chardonnay: Aubert, DuMOL, Hartford Court, Marcassin, Martinelli, Morlet Family Vinyards, Paul Hobbs, Peter Michael, Radio-Coteau, Rochioli.

“Radio-Coteau practices sustainable farming and hands-off winemaking, which includes native fermentations, minimal rackings and bottling without fining or filtration. What ultimately counts, though, is what is in the bottle, and more often than not, these are compelling wines that deserve serious attention.” – Antonio Galloni

From Owner & Winemaker Eric Sussman : “In 2012 Mother Nature gave us a relieving break from the dramatic 2010 and 2011 vintages, and we had near-idyllic growing conditions. Spring provided a healthy fruit set, a mellow summer allowed fruit extended hang-time, and a fairly dry fall kept mildew pressure at bay. These elements allowed us to strike that harmonious, yet often elusive, balance of keeping just enough fruit on the vine while maintaining richness, intensity, and verve. We are proud of our coastal cool climate vineyard terroir, yet we work with sites that are more susceptible to harsh weather patterns, which can be difficult for later ripening varietals such as Syrah and Zinfandel. However, the growing degree days of 2012 mirrored the classic 2009 vintage, and the grapes across the varietals remained on the vines long enough to develop complexity. Though a few heat spells could have potentially pushed sugars up, we preferred to pick for flavor and phenolic development as opposed to higher brix. Most of the pinot was brought in before these temperature spikes, and we are pleased with the results. With a few new vineyard sites in 2012 and an abundant year, we were filled to the proverbial cellar brim. We practiced our minimalist approach in the winery by ensuring healthy vines and impeccable fruit in the vineyards, before it even reaches the cellar door. A keen eye kept on the vines, and painstakingly maintaining balance throughout the year, has graced us with exceptional wines, each expressing the personality of its unique growing site.”

Radio-Coteau is deservedly a true “cult” Pinot Noir. A cult wine is one produced in very small quantities by a very skilled and experienced winegrower and winemaker, sold and tightly allocated often through a mailing list, distinguished by unique and special wines, and is known only to the most dedicated wine geeks.

Owner Eric Sussman developed an interest and passion for wine while studying agriculture at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, during the late eighties. Inspired by wine’s unique connection with its place of origin, he set out to work with and learn from world-class producers near and abroad. He ventured to Washington’s Yakima Valley where he spent several years managing the vines and cellar of a small artisan producer. He then moved on to France and spent the 1995 vintage in Burgundy at Comte Armand in Pommard and Domaine Jacques Prieur in Meursault. After returning to northern California, he worked one year at Bonny Doon and from 1988-2001 as the associate winemaker at Dehlinger. He then crossed paths with Bill and Joan Smith (former owners of La Jota, and current owners of W.H. Smith Wines) and together, they formed a partnership that became Radio-Coteau Wine Cellars .

This incredible Chardonnay was produced from grapes grown in northern Cali’s Anderson Valley, an area which offers both a maritime climate and well-drained soils that are ideally suited for the Chardonnay grape. This premium region's proximity to the ocean gives rise to a gentle cycle of warm days and cool nights, allowing those grapes to mature slowly on the vine and develop full varietal character with optimum balance of acids and sugars.

Eric’s tasing notes: “The 2012 Savoy Chardonnay is a green tinged golden straw color. The nose is a complex mélange of poached pear, clove, vanilla and various lemon notes (candied, preserved, zest and lemon curd). There is also a tropical flower note, Gardenia maybe, and salty-mineral notes. The ripeness of the nose seems to fluctuate from tropical flowers and tropical fruit to green apple and citrus. The palate comes like a tidal wave. Big fruit flavors and crisp acidity all wrapped up in an unctuous texture. The palate is mouth coating and rich but not cloying. The citrus notes, the acidity and the mineral vein of the wine push the flavors through to the clean and bright finish.”

“The 2012 Chardonnay Savoy Vineyard is made primarily from the Old Wente clone of Chardonnay, but 30% comes from the Prosser clone, which is largely seen in Washington State rather than California. A lovely white, it exhibits plenty of earthiness, white peach, honeyed citrus and a medium to full-bodied, crisp, fleshy personality. There is enough acidity to provide freshness. Drink it over the next 3-5 years.” – Robert Parker / The Wine Advocate.