The 2006 Chardonnay Three Sisters Vineyard (700 cases) possesses a superb texture in addition to abundant amounts of popcorn, white currant, hazelnut, and tropical fruit blossom characteristics, superb purity as well as acidity, a full-bodied mouthfeel, and a beautiful finish. In a vintage that was challenging for many California Chardonnay producers, the Three Sisters and the 2006 Marcassin Estate Chardonnays stand out as candidates for ďwines of the vintage.Ē Given the history of the vintage and the challenging conditions for Chardonnay, I would suspect these wines will evolve quickly by Marcassinís standards, meaning they are probably best drunk in their first decade of life.
Fortunately, as the new plantings from Marcassinís Sonoma Coast vineyards come into production, there will be additional quantities of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to help fulfill the ever increasing demand for these wines. Furthermore, from now on, Marcassin will only deal with their own fruit, and they are ending their relationship with the Martinelli family and will no longer share the fruit from the Three Sisters Vineyard for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as well as the Blue Slide Ridge for Pinot Noir. One-hundred percent of that fruit will now go to the Martinellis as proprietors Helen Turley and John Wetlaufer concentrate on their estate holdings. I have been purchasing their wines since the early nineties, and itís remarkable how well the Marcassin wines age. Recent examples of the 1995 and 1997 Chardonnays (which were made from purchased fruit), particularly the Lorenzo and Gauer, are holding up beautifully. They are aging better than most white Burgundies of a similar age. Their Pinot Noirs are also performing brilliantly given what the 1998s, 1999s, and 2000s taste like after a decade of aging. With respect to upcoming releases (one is never quite certain what will be released when, as Marcassinís release program is relatively late, and difficult to predict), they should include the 2006 and 2007 Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, which I tasted in late October, 2009. All the Pinot Noirs need considerable aeration, and are among the few Pinots that I would recommend decanting. They all are reminiscent of northern red Burgundies, particularly those from the village of Morey-St.-Denis. The 2007 Pinot Noirs are more backward than their 2006 counterparts, and, assuming they will be released this year, are best cellared for 2-3 years.