2017 Cattleya, Chardonnay, Cuvee Number Five, Sonoma Coast.
The thrilling Cuvee Number Five Sonoma Coast Chardonnay from Bibiana Gonzalez Rave-Pisoni and her personal Cattleya label is one of the white wines of the vintage, it is gorgeous in depth and expressive in flavors with wonderful balance. Bibiana Gonzalez Rave-Pisoni, the Colombian native who’s travelled the world to learn and make wine, is one of California’s hottest talents and part of a serious power couple with husband Jeff Pisoni of the Pisoni Estate and former winemaker at Peter Michael. Bibiana started her journey in wine at University in Cognac getting her first degree there in 2001, before moving on to Bordeaux and achieving a higher degree with honors in enology, all of which led her to winemaking stints at some famous Chateaux and small domaines including Château Haut-Brion in Pessac-Leognan as well as with Domaine Stéphane Ogier in Côte-Rôtie along with small family estates in Alsace, Burgundy and far away in South Africa. With her impressive resume, she made a quick splash here in California and has made the state her home fitting in perfectly with the vines of the Sonoma Coast as well as her husbands family vines in the Santa Lucia Highlands and in recent years she has been named winemaker of the year by the San Francisco Chronicle and crafting the amazing wines at Pahlmeyer’s Wayfarer. Gonzalez Rave-Pisoni started her own label Cattleya in late 2011, Cattleya means Orchid in Spanish and it is the national flower of her beloved home country of Colombia.
The Cattleya Cuvee Number Five is composed of different vineyards that are influenced by the cooling effect of the coastal fog, marine sedimentary soils and multiple clones of Chardonnay to preserve intensity and still have palate impact and richness. Bibiana notes that, she has been waiting for a while, to produce a blend with Sonoma Coast fruit that would capture the essence of the cooling influence of the ocean proximity, which highlights the terroir and sense of place, she adds she wants her wines to reveal complexity, acidity, minerality and longevity, this is especially delivered in her 2017 Chardonnay. Crafted from small lots from two vineyard sites using a selection Old Wente, 78 and 15 clones, Bibiana gently bladder pressed the grapes letting the juice settle overnight in very cool stainless tanks before being racked to French oak for barrel fermentation and aging. The Cattleya Chardonnay saw about 40% new oak with the rest being in neutral casks to allow the grapes purity to thrive, it spent just about a year in barrel before bottling. The nose starts with stunning aromatics with citrus blossoms, stone fruit and a light toasty note that leads to a full bodied palate, which is slightly exotic, almost like a Hermitage Blanc, with layers of brilliant and detailed fruit including peach, apple, pear, kumquat and lemon curd as well as mineral tones, a creamy brioche/creme brûlée, subtle hazelnut, golden fig, saline, wet rock and just a touch of vanilla. This is right up there with the elite Chardonnay producers with its class showing from start to finish, this is a wine that shows its confidence, strutting its stuff, but without any pretense or gaudy glitz, drink it over the next 3 to 5 years.
($50 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive