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Radio Coteau

Radio Coteau Sonoma Coast Wingtine Chardonnay 2020

Radio Coteau Sonoma Coast Wingtine Chardonnay 2020

Regular price $154.00 USD
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In the 20 years since its foundation, Radio-Coteau has developed a cult-like following among the cognoscenti of The New California. Eric Sussman, winegrower and proprietor at Radio-Coteau, lives by the tenet, “the best fertiliser is the farmer’s shadow”. With his small team he makes some of California’s most exciting, nuanced and fresh cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, from a range of coastal-influenced vineyards in Western Sonoma County and the Anderson Valley.

Sussman has led a storied career spanning four decades and two continents. A New York native, he studied Viticulture and Agricultural Science at Cornell University, focusing on organic viticulture. Two formative years in France followed, apprenticing at Comte Armand and Jacques Prieur in Burgundy and Mouton Rothschild in Bordeaux. Sussman credits these seasons in France with solidifying his interest in crafting wines that speak of place, and the use of organic and biodynamic farming and low-intervention winemaking. He returned to the States in 1997, working at Bonny Doon and Dehlinger before starting Radio-Coteau in 2002, with a name that loosely translates to ‘broadcasting from the hillsides’, or more colloquially as ‘word of mouth’, a phrase that stuck with Sussman since his time in France. 

The Wingtine Chardonnay is named after a specialised cultivation tool, the wing tine shank. It is used by Radio-Coteau—and more broadly in the Sonoma Coast area—to cultivate their Goldridge (sandy loam) soils. Its unique design lifts and fractures the ground vertically and horizontally, reducing tractor passes while maintaining soil structure.

The cuvée is sourced from both Radio-Coteau’s biodynamic estate vineyard and the Heintz Ranch Vineyard, just a stone’s throw away in Occidental. The estate vineyard’s SeaBed plot is home to several of the Wente clones, the original of which arrived from Burgundy in 1912. Described by Robert Parker as “one of the greatest Grand Cru sites for Chardonnay in California”, Heintz Ranch is an organically farmed site with mature vines (30-plus years old) and an excellent diurnal range, ensuring fruit with rich flavours and balanced acidities. Sussman believes the balance of the two parcels delivers the most striking result.

The fruit was hand-harvested in late August from both sites, whole-bunch pressed, and fermented in a combination of concrete egg, stainless steel and neutral oak. Long and slow élevage on lees followed with no bâtonnage, and the wine went through full malo before being bottled without fining or filtration.

Compared with Radio-Coteau’s Savoy Anderson Chardonnay, the Wingtine is the more delicate, floral and mineral-driven style (the Puligny to the Savoy Vineyard’s Meursault?). It’s a delightfully vibrant and expressive coastal Chardonnay; pure and focused, layered with orchard fruit, zesty citrus and fine texture before a classy, lingering and flint-scented finish.

The Finer Details
Style - White Wine
Varietal - Chardonnay
Country - USA
Region - Sonoma Coast, California
Vintage - 2020
Bottle Size - 750ml
ABV - 13.4%

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