93 Insider Points
Another Knockout Production from Rising Star Blair Guthrie
When I first met Blair in May 2018, it was a real treat to hear his story and to taste his wines. You may have already tried his Petite Sirah. When I committed to that purchase, I also committed to his stellar Sonoma Mountain Chardonnay. Between the history of the winemaker and the quality of his wines, it was an easy purchase.
Oaky pear on the nose. It has an easy palate, showing golden apple with an oak backbone, balanced out by fresh acidity. A sipper for any season. 93 Points - JZ Sept '18
Pure and simple—one of the tastiest Chardonnays to cross our path recently and little wonder, considering the wine’s credentials. This breezy, balanced white was made by Blair Guthrie (who studied under Paul Hobbs and worked at Kunde and BK Wines in Australia) and his wife Caroline. Guthrie was also a veteran of Napa Valley’s Stewart Cellars and Hollis wines. The couple’s experience as well as their playful character and shared love of all things wine related are reflected in this Chardonnay. Add to this a single vineyard of awesome quality, high up in the Sonoma Mountain appellation, and you have the makings for something truly special.
Given the quality of fruit, the Guthrie’s wisely chose to stand back and let the grapes speak for themselves, whole cluster pressing the wine direct to barrel and using only indigenous yeast and just 18% new French oak. At just 250 cases, this 2015 sold out at the winery in a snap thanks to the wine’s layered, complex character and white Burgundy-like minerality. Drink this insider’s Chard with food or before dinner over the next five years.
- The 2015 vintage was extraordinary for white varietals throughout Sonoma and was rated 96 points by the Wine Advocate.
- The Sonoma Mountain AVA sits at 2,463 feet above sea level, and largely above fog level, too, though the cooling influence from the coastline comes in daily and finds a footing in the slopes and grooves of the mountain, providing a constantly fluctuating temperature and the ideal conditions for cool-climate Chardonnay.
- Guthrie Family Winery is owned and operating by couple Blair and Caroline Guthrie, who work in every aspect of winemaking at this boutique estate from harvest to labeling.
- The Guthrie’s follow a minimalist approach, which means that grapes are picked by hand, wines are fermented with native yeasts only, very little new oak is employed and finished wines are minimally sulfured.
From the winemaker:
Our Sonoma Mountain Bellbird Chardonnay presents a fun spectacle of flavors, from apple and pear, to lemon and custard. Its playful acidity, although slightly broader than the 2014 vintage, makes the flavors fly at your palate. Truly a fun and layered Chardonnay, it’s reminiscent of an old-world French Montrachet.
From the winery:
Our wines share the reality of travel, of family, of blending old and new world approaches with our personalities. Fun is what we intend, and what we hope you experience with every bottle you open. Each of our wines is a personality, someone new you meet. We hope you make a few new friends, and revisit with them over and over. Being part of the process from step one, seeing our wines grow and develop character from when we pick them to when they’re bottled, we consider them part of our family. And, we’d love to share them, and our journeys, with you.
We don’t hope to follow trends, but instead let the vineyards and the conditions of a certain vineyard for a given year tell us what to do with the wine. We’re there with it every day, from when it’s picked to when it’s bottled. The wines we make represent everything we love and believe in: love for wine, family, and this dream that we live everyday here in wine country. Caroline and I have always thought making wine is about getting your hands dirty and getting as close to the dirt as you can. The earth is what gives us the wine, and that’s what needs to be known. It’s where my relationship with the wine starts.
Everything is reflected in the wines we make. Our family, our love of wine, our travels, our personalities, our past… everything. Our relationship with wine started with a love of where it’s from, walking the vineyard and delivering what’s out there into the bottle, for everyone to enjoy. Wine shouldn’t be manipulated, it should speak a truth. And these wines are our truth, the truth we want to share with you. So, again, we hope you enjoy whichever of our bottles you have in front of you at the moment, and let our story be part of yours.
From the winery:
A perfect wine to enjoy outside on the deck with some cheese, or to just, you know, Netflix and chill.