This newly released vintage, made by Stéphane Vivier, is even better than the debut vintage from 2020. It once again comes from Gap's Crown Vineyard, tucked on the western hillside of Sonoma Mountain, which is fanned by the cool ocean breezes that push through the Petaluma Gap. Stéphane’s block is between 980-1180 feet above sea level. The rows are located over a ridgeline with a variety of exposures. It was planted in 2004 in sandy loam with alluvial gravel, uniquely iron rich. The grape clusters are small and dense. It is minerally on the nose with jasmine, clove, citrus bloom and flint that is more often derived from Puligny Montrachet. “The palate shows a lovely density and purity of fruit, intermixing with salty mineral and white flowers. The acidity is finely pointed, sharp and precise, showing an exhilarating race, length, and strength.” 123 cases were produced.
While you might not have heard of Stéphane Vivier, you have probably heard of Aubert de Villaine, owner of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, one of the most sought-after Burgundy producers in the world. Working side-by-side at HdV Winery, which is owned by relatives Larry Hyde (of Hyde Vineyards) and Aubert, Stéphane oversaw the winemaking efforts for this Napa Valley winery and it’s there where I first met Stéphane and Aubert de Villaine.