Salinia Wines, Sonoma Coast, Marigold, Chardonnay 2010 (500ml)
Ariana Rolich, Chambers Street Wines
Salinia's Kevin Kelley has won us over with his creativity and consistent, skillful approach to making wines that both spark the intellect and quench the thirst. St. Marigold is a complex and sensuous example of this skill. Made from Kelley's most prized fruit (Chardonnay from Heintz Vineyard), the wine that would become St. Marigold spent a year in barrel before it stabilized. At this point, Kelley sealed off the barrel and rotated it to create a vacuum and prevent the formation of a surface yeast (which requires oxygen to subsist). He then left it untouched for 4 full years. A potent and savory potion emerged, with abundant aromas of orange custard, pumpkin seeds, almond, honey, birch bark, and wild rose; the palate is rich and salty, with flavors of sweet corn, dried apricot, salted butter, popcorn husk, crunchy snow peas, orange pith, and a sprinkle of yeast on the finish. Over three tastings in 9 months, St. Marigold has shown itself to be mysterious and shape-shifting, but always delicious! Water evaporation over its long élevage increased alcohol to 16.5% (and perhaps allowed just a touch of sugar to peek out) making this a gorgeous wine to sip with cheese and dessert courses.