Angel Ranch Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2019
The legendary Russian River Valley vineyard behind this NDA-shrouded bottle is so recognizable and famous, winemaker Rob McDonald wouldn’t even whisper a word of description about it to us. The vineyard behind this wine rivals Sonoma’s top Chardonnay sites, and today’s release exudes the kind of pedigree that can’t be disguised. A long-time veteran of the California wine industry, Rob managed to get access to a small lot of grapes from this one-of-a-kind vineyard through some right-time, right-place serendipity.
“If I tell you anything at all, you’ll know the site,” he said. “It’s a well-known vineyard that’s behind many labels and includes very prominent names.”
With grapes this special, Rob took extra steps to guarantee that the full expressivity of the site came through in the glass. Fermentation occurred in a combination of chilled stainless steel and barrel, 20% new and 80% neutral French oak. This provided three lots to blend—tank, new oak, and old oak—allowing him to seamlessly combine racy acidity with a core of nutty, honey-kissed richness. There’s no way to achieve this sumptuous, exotic fruit concentration and grand, detailed structure without first-class terroir and meticulous farming.
When it comes to New World opulence, he’s one of the best barometers of excellence in the country. And he has a truffle hound’s nose for hidden-gem values.
A golden-brass yellow decorates the glass. Aromas are led by acacia, Golden Delicious apple, and torched crème brûlée, with a layer of praline. The mouthfeel is grand, with plenty of fruit on the mid-palate, resolving in a long, nutty finish. A bold and generous Chardonnay. Drink now - 2026.
Grapes 100% Chardonnay
Appellation Russian River Valley
Vintner Rob McDonald