The People

Mai Errazuriz and her husband, Rodrigo Soto, have worked for numerous leading wineries for over thirty years. In fact, Mai Errazuriz is of the renowned Errazuriz family, famous for their winery in Chile. Rodrigo also has ample experience with wine, having been a winemaker for properties such as Veramonte and Quintessa. This wine power couple was having a last-minute dinner with longtime friends when they began discussing the direction of wine in California. 

According to Soto and Errazuriz, this conversation deepened, and they deliberated on life values. There, the two decided to create their own winemaking business centered on finding unique parts of Sonoma Valley. At first, it seemed to them like it might be far-fetched – but they were determined. It is said that the name “Far Mountain” represents two things: the far, distinct locations from where they source their wines and the journey they took to make their dreams come true. 

Everything about their business is based on their absolute love for the region that makes Far Mountain possible. From the descriptions on their website to the labels on their bottles, down to the flavors of the wines, there is immense pride and appreciation for the land that sources their grapes.

The Juice

The grapes were whole clusters pressed at fractional pressures, collected separately, and left to settle for 24-36 hours. The objective is to expose the must to oxygen at this stage, for elements prone to oxidation to drop out, and to have multiple pressings to follow through the aging process.

The must then goes right to barrels, 18% new, with 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-year-old barrels making up the rest. There is lees contact throughout the aging, with stirring a bit more frequently early in the aging, down to once a month near the end. These phenolics from the lees, accentuated by the thick skins of the old Wente clone from Bald Mountain, develop into the wine’s notably sappy yet soft texture. 30% of the wine went through malolactic fermentation.

Finally, there is no racking from the time the must goes into the barrel until the final wine is assembled before bottling. This precise yet minimal approach is ultimately the source of the intensely mineral and defined finish and aftertaste.

The Dirt

This exquisite chardonnay is sourced from two vineyards: Bald Mountain Vineyard and Thornton Vineyard. The former is such an extreme location that one can feel the Pacific winds coming in from the northwest gap. The natural environment overwhelms everything else. The wine produced by Bald Mountain is distinctive in so many ways. It has surprisingly delicate floral notes that move quickly to ripe yellow and more exotic fruits. The sappy texture of the wine makes its presence felt, and this grows into a more defined and powerful structure with layers of spice persisting through the finish.

The latter, Thornton Vineyard, is equally exciting. This location adds a dimension that Sonoma achieves uniquely well in California: Chardonnay carved by the combination of Pacific Ocean influence and vineyard altitude. The vineyard lies directly west of Sonoma, at the southern base of Sonoma Mountain, in an area that falls under both the Sonoma Valley and Sonoma Coast appellations; this apt crossroads describes the various elements that make this vineyard so interesting. The vines, nearly thirty years of age, look east and capture a ripeness that balances the wine on a knife’s edge. The wine bursts with brightness and citrus, with a firm mineral backbone.

The Taste

Myrna has an initial personality defined by delicate florals provided by the grapes of Bald Mountain Vineyard. Suddenly, the wine bursts with brightness and citrus, with a firm mineral backbone – courtesy of Thornton Vineyard. The flavor can be described as salty, lime, and green fruit inflected. The notes of pear and apple truly add a delectable flavor to the blend. Ending in a lift, this wine is something remarkable.

Far Mountain didn’t bottle these wines separately because the combination is too good and so harmoniously expressive of the renowned vision of Sonoma Mountain Chardonnay.

The Spill

The word Myrna translates to “beloved,” a reflection of the winemakers’ feelings about truly great Chardonnay: wines that can translate from their site’s intense minerality, texture, and dazzling spectrum of flavors. 

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