In 1960 Henri Vandendriessche came to America from France to study economics at UC Berkeley. He and Claire met in 1967 and fell in love with Napa, as well as with each other. In 1977 they purchased the 64-acre estate just north of Napa with two goals in mind: reviving an 1870’s winery estate to its ancient glory and raising their family on an estate that would reflect and encompass their values. They moved their young family into the converted old winery and made the farm their home. They replanted as much original vineyard as they could, and dug a cave system where they would make and cellar the wine. Always a family business, Henri oversaw all aspects of the enterprise, including the vineyard management, while Claire marketed and sold the wines. Their three children lived along with the seasons, helping and participating at each stage when time permitted. Today, the children run the winery. Christopher makes the wines (he also makes Hudson alongside John Kongsgaard) and Michael manages the vineyards. The sister Anne Marie is an accomplished cheese-maker for a local artisan creamery.
The Claret is styled after great Bordeaux Cab blends (all Estate grown – 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Franc & 2% Petit Verdot). The vineyard gives this wine a distinctive licorice, plum, blackberry flavor profile. On the palate you’ll find a complex wine with bright black stone fruit flavors with a hint of chocolate, nicely balanced with the right amounts of acid, fruit, spice, and a little touch of toasty vanilla and minerality. The finish is typically refreshingly dry with fine-grained silky tannins and nice acidity. The 2010 Claret is bolder than usual seen at White Rock. Small yields led to very concentrated fruit and delicious plump flavors. Only 500 cases produced! The wine is aged for 2 years in barrel and 2 years in bottle prior to release.
Also check out the exquisite White Rock 2012 “Estate” Chardonnay – Retail 37.00 – GGWC 33.99
2012 was an ideal growing year at White Rock, and the 2012 Chardonnay is full, rich, and packed with flavor. The nose opens with ripe pear, lime, and citrus blossom. The mouth is soft and round, with a palate of lemon, bright apple, subtle oak, and vanilla. The Chardonnay develops its lush mouth feel from 11 months of sur-lies aging in French oak barrels. The acid is bright and well integrated, promising excellent age-ability.
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