Schug Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2017 is such a light style of Chardonnay that you might not believe that it is a Californian Chardonnay. This is intentional as the wine producers, Schug Estates, are proud of their German heritage and wanted to move away from the heavy, tropical fruit style of many US Chardonnays. This is also why Schug likes cool climate regions like Sonoma Coast. The cold Pacific Ocean influences the climate and means an extended growing season and that helps complex fruit flavours develop, keeps refreshing acidity high and reins in alcohol levels. As a result I classify Schug Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2017 as a crisp light white wine and consider it to be a European-style American Chardonnay.
Schug Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2017 really is a beautiful white wine, a very elegant Chardonnay that somehow combines a light body and a creamy texture. The creaminess is also balanced by refreshing acidity preventing the wine from being too heavy or rich. Schug Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2017 has aromas and flavours of apples & pears with a hint of peach and some spiciness; there are no signs of oak in the flavours, not a whiff of brioche, vanilla or toast. Only 10% of the wine has been aged in oak and so any oak influence is in the wine’s rounded texture rather than in the flavours which remain predominantly fruity on a lovely long finish.
Schug is a wine business with roots in the German wine industry. Walter Schug hails from Rheingau and specialised in Pinot Noir before leaving for America in 1961. He brought his flair for producing elegant wines to California, building up experience working for other estates until setting up his own, Schug Estates. He has been joined in the business by member of the next two generations of his family.