Far Mountain

Myrna Chardonnay 2019

Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California

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Myrna’s focused intensity of fruit and texture reflects its two extreme mountain and hillside vineyard sites.  The word Myrna translates to “beloved”, a reflection of Far Mountain’s feelings about truly great Chardonnay: wines that can translate from their sites intense minerality, texture and a dazzling spectrum of flavors.

Vineyard: Bald Mountain

Heading west up the Oakville Grade from Napa, or coming east on Trinity Road from Sonoma, is one of the rights of passage when you first visit Napa and Sonoma. Incredibly steep and full of twists and turns, you climb from one valley into the mountains and extraordinary redwoods of the Mayacamas range and come down into the other valley. The 11 miles take about half an hour. Halfway up, at the peak of the ridge, there is a side road that even those who have crossed the pass many times will not have noticed. You already feel remote within the majestic surroundings, but as you take the small side road and head north up the ridge, you feel you are in uncharted territory. The road leads to Bald Mountain, the second highest peak in the mountain range, and another steep side road sweeps you to the west side of the peak, where nestled into it you find one of the most stunning vineyard settings imaginable.

Planted in 1972, Bald Mountain vineyard is remarkable. In a cool bowl at the bottom of the site we found exactly what we were looking for in Chardonnay plantings. The vineyard is planted to heritage California clones that we believe thrive in poor soils, and develop a true depth of texture and flavor. Vines grow on pure fractured and tectonic rock, which is truly a dramatic sight. This mountain factor is very present in the finish of the wine, its chalkiness, salinity and minerality translating in a bright and genuine way.

Vineyard: Thornton Vineyard

Thornton Vineyard, the second source for Myrna, is one that excites us equally and adds a dimension that we believe Sonoma achieves almost uniquely well in California: Chardonnay carved by the combination of Pacific Ocean influence and vineyard altitude. The vineyard lies directly west of the town of Sonoma, at the southern base of Sonoma Mountain in an area that falls under both the Sonoma Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations; this apt crossroads describes the various elements that make this vineyard so interesting. The vines here, nearly thirty years of age, look east and capture a ripeness that balances the wine on a knife’s edge. The wine bursts with brightness and citrus, with a firm mineral backbone.

Winemaking

The grapes were whole cluster pressed at fractional pressures, collected separately, and left to settle for 24-36 hours. The objective is to expose the must to oxygen at this stage, for elements prone to oxidation to drop out, and to have multiple pressings to follow through the aging process.

The must then goes right to barrels, 18% of which were new, with 1, 2, 3 and 4 year old barrels making up the rest of the total. There is lees contact throughout the aging, with stirring a bit more frequently early in the aging, down to once a month near the end. These phenolics from the lees, accentuated by the thick skins of the old Wente clone from Bald Mountain, develop into the notably sappy yet soft texture of the wine. 30% of the wine went through malolactic fermentation and we can say, as with the percentage of new oak as well as the aging – 1 year rather than the 16-18 months that might be expected – we believe that over-influencing the wine in any dimension detracts from the inherent qualities we feel every time we taste.

Vintage

2019 was a spectacular vintage — an amplified version of the 2018 growing season in terms of slow, steady growing conditions, perfect balance in the vines, slow ripening, great concentration and bright acidity. The beauty of these old vines is that because they are so well established, the vines become fully ripe with less accumulation of sugar.

Tasting Note

Myrna combines Bald Mountain’s surprisingly delicate floral notes that move quickly to ripe yellow and more exotic fruits with salty, lime and green fruit-inflected notes from Thornton. The sappy texture of the wine makes its presence felt, and this grows into a more defined and powerful structure with layers of spice persisting through the finish, with a beautiful clear lift.

Color

White

Grape Varieties

Chardonnay

Appellation

Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California

Farming

Both vineyard sites are organically farmed; Bald Mountain uses no irrigation.

Alcohol

14.0%

Reviews

"Elegant Fruit"

Wine Enthusiast - "High-toned and floral, this wine offers a generous mouthfeel of salty oak, mineral and wet stone. The elegant fruit profile combines pear, apple and Meyer lemon with ease, complementing the body weight with ample acidity” - V.B. 12.21

"Superb depth and persistence"

Vinous Media - “The 2019 Chardonnay Myrna shows just how compelling the vintage is for white wines. Lemon oil, white flowers, chalk and mint give the 2019 a brilliant upper register that almost comes as a surprise once the wine shows its superb depth and persistence. This highly expressive, nuanced Chardonnay has a lot going on and plenty to offer.” - A.G.

"Creamy texture and balance"

James Suckling - “A polished, minerally chardonnay with sliced apple, lemon rind and some stone and flint. Laurel and other herbs, too. It’s medium-to full-bodied with a creamy texture and balance. Phenolic texture. Lively and stony.”

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Other Wines by this Producer

Fission Cabernet Sauvignon

Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, California

Fission is a wine of texture, with the intensity and concentration we associate with old vines. It builds into powerful tannins that remain refined, almost cloaked by the seductiveness of the fruit and the gently building structure. The name Fission was ultimately chosen to reference the textural and mineral characteristics that the unique volcanic soil brings to this wine.