After 17 years at Joseph Phelps – Bruce Neyers was ready for a change. Sure – having joined the winery in its upstart days and watching its rise to fame was exhilarating and rewarding, but Bruce was ready to hang up a shingle of his own.
So, in 1991, he and his wife Barbara (Chef & Manager at Chez Panisse) began Neyers Vineyards on a rocky north slope of Pritchard Hill, alongside Sage Creek. To pay the bills, Bruce began as national sales manager for Kermit Lynch – where he had a 26-year run that left an undeniable mark on his approach to winemaking.
But of all the rich experiences working for arguably the finest small importer in the country – one in particular stands out. During a 2009 trip to Domaine Lavantureux with Neyer’s winemaker Taddeo Borchardt, Bruce noticed Taddeo off in the corner – obviously in a very animated conversation with Roland and his son David.
Back at the hotel that night Taddeo could barely contain his enthusiasm. He believed he had cracked the code – his theory vindicated by the Lavantureux father-son duo. Back in California, Taddeo had recently discovered a rocky strewn vineyard – situated in the coldest part of Sonoma county across an ancient dry creek bed.
The rocky soil and high natural acidity would be ideal for Chablis-styled Chardonnay. Even better, the vineyard was already planted to unique heirloom Chardonnay, known as ‘Shot-Wente’. All of these factors combine to create a Chardonnay of purity seldom seen in California – pears and fresh peach dominate with a tingling acidity ready to cut through the butter of any seafood dish you care to throw at it.
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