“Bravium” is Latin for “gift” or “prize” – in this case indication the gift of California’s coolest, best situated hillside sites with shallow soils – the sort sought out by his mentors at Rhys. His winemaking, naturally, is very minimalist – gently guiding what the vineyard gives him.
This Chardonnay is from the Reis Vineyard, planted at the top of a cool ridge with very poor, stony soils 9 miles from the Pacific. Rohlffs, a native Cherokee whoso parents named him “Winter Hawk,” often finds hawk feathers in this vineyard. (Hence the feather on its label.)
This Chardonnay combines the richly layered, sophisticated aromas and textures of those three times its price with wonderful freshness and vibrancy. (The pH is 3.28.)
The Wine Enthusiast rates it Outstanding and an Editors’ Choice:
This wine boasts a lush palate of apple, pear and Meyer lemon. It is grainy in texture and supported by oak, yet there's a steely thread of acidity to help balance the richness.
Readers looking for a terrific value in California Chardonnay should check out the 2016 Chardonnay Russian River Valley. With clean orchard fruits, spice, and hints of brioche, it's medium-bodied, lightly textured and graceful, with beautiful purity of fruit and length.
Such comparisons may be odious, but I find this even more impressive than our (wonderful, and $40) Alesia Chardonnay from Rhys.