Sixteen by Twenty Chardonnay 2017

Sonoma Coast
$45 (Wine Club Reorder $36)

Sixteen by Twenty Wines (16×20) was founded by artist and now self-taught viticulturist David Dunphy with the first vintage dating from 2005. David and his wife Karen are from Minnesota but fell in love with Napa after learning of its greatness after the Judgement of Paris. They used to visit 2-3 times a year before moving out to the Valley.

David was around Napa’s winemaking history at a time when there were far fewer wineries in the valley and very few tasting rooms. He met and became friends with some of Napa’s old timers – Charlie Wagner at Caymus, Justin Meyer at Silver Oak and Cathy Corison when she was still at Etude. David remembers tasting with them at their homes or in their kitchens – a level of tasting personalized with the owners far beyond what you typically find at a tasting room these days.

The name 16×20 refers to the most common canvas size used by artists. This size generally is accepted as a good dimension for providing the ideal balance for their works of art. Making the segue to growing grapes and wine making, David chose this name to represent the same type of balance he strives to create among each vine in the vineyard as well as in the winery.

Paul Hobbs has been making their wines since the original vintage. How did a Minnesota man get the great Paul Hobbs to make his small production wine? They met by chance at lunch with a mutual friend and David showed Paul a list of winemakers he was considering hiring. After critiquing the short list, Paul said “how about I make your wine?” and the rest is history. You’re getting an amazing value with Paul’s talent and the wine’s price point.

The coastal nose of this Chardonnay is crisp and clean with characters of bread dough, citrus peel and a beautiful slight tang of passion fruit. There is an equal balance between the fruit and acid and the French Oak adds flavors of crème brulee and a hint of slightly toasted marshmallow. A creamy Chardonnay like this is going to go well with butter or nutty flavors – you can’t go wrong with seafood, especially Dungeness Crab with drawn butter.

Taylor Morgan – August 2021

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