2017 Subject to Change Coastview Vineyard Chardonnay
Region: Santa Cruz Mountains < CA
Vineyard/cellar stats: Organic, zero-input farming; whole clusters go into press, the juice is browned in the press pan and put to tank for a few days of settling, then goes to barrel to ferment and age for five months before being racked to tank for another 5 months to slim up in stainless; bottled unfined, unfiltered and untouched; no sulfur is harmed in the making of this wine (zero-zero); 294 cases; 12.5% ABV
Winemaker: Alex Pomerantz
Subject to Change, a project from my friend Alex Pomerantz, is relatively new on the natty Cali wine scene. We love his commitment to using only organic or biodynamic fruit (something not all “natural”winemakers insist on) and eschewing all additives, including added sulfites, in the wines. For him, it’s all about the pristine quality of the fruit, which comes from the legendary Coastview Vineyard, farmed by Father-Son duo John and Parker Allen, 2400 feet up the Santa Cruz mountains, with a view clear out to the Monterey Bay. John and Parker farm with only a small crew and a herd of 900 sheep (instead of mowers and herbicide). Chardonnay is an extremely terroir-reflective grape, able to transmit the essence of the place where it's grown more than most grapes. The Coastview vineyard is planted on a granite slab over 2,000 feet up in the Gabilan Mountains, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, bathed regularly by the coastal fog and salty breezes. You can taste all of these elements - the rocky, granite soil, the salinity, the love -- in this wine, which will appease Chardonnay lovers and skeptics alike. It's round with golden fruit, but not fat; it has some barrel age for texture and a kiss of richness, but doesn’t taste buttery or oaky in the least. And there is a fresh, salty, almost oxidative quality that recalls the famous Jura Chardonnays, which wine geeks will appreciate.
We always love how Alex describes his wines: “Born in the wild and groomed for high society, this wine is a secret agent of sorts. I love this Chardonnay because it’s salty with tropical fruit which is such a cool combo. As the wine is open, the tropical fruit mellows and the wine becomes more focused around orchard fruit and the salty core -- for me, very reminiscent of what I love about many Jura chardonnays”. He also offers a pro tip: Blind taste your friend who’s “Not a Chardonnay drinker” and show them how versatile the grape can be (or a Burgundy aficionado who doesn't drink California). Drink now or cellar it (or preferably both).