Sonoma County’s Patz & Hall: New Releases from the 2015 Vintage

This winery, founded in 1988, is the product of a successful partnership of Donald Patz, James Hall, Anne Moses and Heather Patz. Over the past 25 years Patz & Hall has produced small lot and single vineyard wines focusing on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, sourcing grapes from more than 30 of the finest vineyards within Russian River Valley, the Sonoma Coast and elsewhere in California.

The winery has had an outstanding track record producing some of the finest Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs in Sonoma County as revealed in our tastings of new releases from the 2014 and 2015 vintages. We also visited Patz & Hall and did a comprehensive tasting at their lovely new facility outside the center of the town of Sonoma when preparing our Report #44: The Wines of Sonoma County.

Patz & Hall was purchased by Washington’s Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in early 2016; the founding partners, Donald Patz. James Hall, Anne Moses, and Heather Patz, remain with the winery. The winemaker is UC Davis grad James Hall (shown here).

Chardonnay

 Patz & Hall 2015 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast ($40) 91 This Chardonnay is the kind of wine that made California famous. It’s nicely balanced with attractive acidity and good depth of orchard fruit and melon flavors. The oak aspect is refined and well-integrated. Ready to drink now. Whole cluster pressed, indigenous yeast, full malo and aged 32% in new Burgundian barrels. Patz & Hall 2015 Chardonnay Alder Springs Vineyard Mendocino County ($60) 93 This Mendocino County Chardonnay shows impeccable balance. Smoky on the nose, it displays excellent freshness and richness of flavor. It’s mouth filling with a nice creamy touch and hints of dried lemon, savory orange marmalade, and mango. Well done. Sourced from two small blocks of the Alder Springs Vineyard just 7 miles from the Pacific at 2600’ elevation on the flanks of Cahto Peak. Whole cluster pressed, fermented with indigenous yeast, and full malo in 40% new French oak. Patz & Hall 2015 Chardonnay Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley ($44) 92 This outstanding Patz & Hall Chardonnay has remarkable balance and depth of flavor . There’s a brilliant core of bright acidity and super fresh tropical flavors that leap out of the glass. Rich fruit is complemented by stony minerals and beautifully integrated notes of toasty hazelnut. A bargain at any price. Mostly dry-farmed with a variety of clones and matured in 35% new French oak. Patz & Hall 2015 Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard Carneros ($65) 93 Another elegant Chardonnay winner from Patz & Hall with scents of fragrant honeysuckle, pear and tangerine zest. Excellent depth of fruit and superb acid balance on the palate with stony mineral nuances. Suave and harmonious. Sourced from one of our favorite California vineyards where Larry Hyde has planted several vineyard sections for Patz & Hall. [Hyde Vineyard shown here.]

Pinot Noir

Patz & Hall 2015 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast ($48) 91 Fresh dark cherry, tobacco and spice offer the introduction to this generously flavored Pinot. It shows good balance and an abundance of rich, ripe fruit with hints of earth and licorice. A blend of different vineyard sites, it’s representative of Sonoma Pinot Noir. Made with 10% whole clusters and aged in 40% new French oak. Patz & Hall 2015 Pinot Noir Jenkins Ranch Sonoma Coast ($60) 92 This wine hits the sweet spot. It shows nicely concentrated berry and cherry fruit, but it’s also savory with touches of smoky underbrush. It’s rich but not sweet, and it’s well structured with pliant tannins on the finish. Excellent. Sourced from the 18 acre Jenkins Ranch located near Sebastopol and aged in 60% new French oak. The Jenkins Ranch has Goldridge series gravel loam aoils planted to Dijon selections 667 and 777. Patz & Hall 2015 Pinot Noir Gap’s Crown Sonoma Coast ($70) 93 An astounding Pinot Noir from one of California’s most famous vineyards. The wine is dense yet suave, absolutely packed with spicy dark berry flavor but savory and superbly balanced with a silky mouth feel and fine, firm tannins. California Pinot Noir doesn’t get much better than this. Gap’s Crown is one of California’s great vineyards located in the foothills of Sonoma Mountain. The fruit for this bottling comes from two of the highest blocks planted to selections 667 and 828 on gravel and volcanic rock. Aged in 60% new French oak.

 

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