Winery Spotlight: Adler Fels
I had never heard of Adler Fels wines before sampling some of their wines recently and writing this review, but having now been introduced through their excellent ’14 Pinot Noir and ’15 Chardonnay, it is a name I will associate with top quality wines from here out.
Adler Fels sources grapes from various regions and crafts their wines around the characteristics and style that maximizes the qualities of the grapes they purchase. A benefit of this approach is that winemakers Aaron Bader and Linda Trotta are never tied to certain vineyards. They can explore new, interesting places in an effort to put forth wines of distinction, depending on what they prefer in any given year. And from what we tasted so far, I’m interested to see where they go from here.
I had the opportunity to ask the winemakers a few questions, which I’ve shared below. In addition, I’ve included some tasting notes and a perspective of what we thought about the wines that we tasted, the ’14 Pinot Noir and ’15 Chardonnay.
Q: How does winemaking at Adler Fels focus on the terroir and the sharing of that sense of place in the wines?
A: (Aaron) When we source from different appellations we strive to showcase the optimal characteristics of both appellations in the final wine.
Q: What should people know about Adler Fels wines that they might not already know?
A: (Aaron) Over the years we’ve developed a following and reputation for our white wines. One of best kept secrets is that we also craft exceptional red wines – our 2014V Adler Fels Pinot Noir is a wonderful example.
Q: What have you learned about winemaking in the last 12 months that you didn’t know before?
A: (Linda) Drought stress has effects on the vines as well as on the microbes in the soil. Microbes are extremely important for healthy soil and healthy vines.
Q: What goals in your winemaking are you still working towards?
A: (Aaron) Finding great vineyard sites and the never-ending quest for that perfect balance in the bottle.
Q: What is the hardest part of your job in creating Adler Fels wine?
A: (Aaron) Resisting the urge to overthink. That first idea, that was a good one.
Q: What food would you like people to enjoy when tasting your wines?
A: (Linda) Chardonnay: lovely creamy cheeses such as triple cream Brie and Camembert, grilled chicken or Sea Bass – preparations that include a light cream base complement the middle palate of the wine and lemon, used sparingly, elevates the wine’s fruit aromas.
A: (Aaron) Pinot Noir: hearty seafood such as Salmon or meaty, seared Tuna steaks
Q: What are you drinking right now when you’re not tasting your own wine?
A: (Linda) Bubbles – Champagne and domestic sparkling is always on hand. Pink wines like Pinotage and Pinot Noir blush wines from Sonoma County and the Central Coast. And, of course we love to sample others Chardonnays (Patz & Hall, Tor Kenward, Chalk Hill); (Aaron) Pinot Noirs (Chalk Hill, Roth, Acacia, Chalone).
Winemodo Adler Fels Tasting
2015 Adler Fels Chardonnay
This is a beautiful classic California Chardonnay highlighted by plenty of fruit flavor, good dimension and character and a moderate dose of oak in the finish to wrap it together.
The nose has aromas of fresh fruit, orange peel, mineral, butterscotch and a hint of oak. In the mouth is where this wine shines. It is medium in body, gentle acidity with flavors of lemon, apple and apricot, with a touch of vanilla. Toward the finish I got some caramel, butter and a perfect amount of oak, to liven up the complexity without prohibiting the fruit to shine through.
Overall, this is a vibrant wine, very much alive in its youth, flavor packed and balanced nicely. I’m a big fan and would go 91 points.
2014 Adler Fels Pinot Noir
The 2014 Adler Fels Pinot Noir is impressive. This wine is made from fruit that is sourced 76% from Santa Rita Hills and 24% Russian River Valley. What I find to be special here is the balance. Earth, fruit, acid, body and oak – all of these are dialed in just right.
Add in another favorable growing year in California and you have all the ingredients for an superb bottle of wine (’12, ’13,’14 were all spectacular but I find myself gravitating a bit towards the latter two; it will be interesting to see how these vintages evolve over time).
Aromas of earth and berries on the nose. In the mouth, I love how this wine feels. It’s delicate, gentle, soft. Fruit flavors are cherry, a little cranberry, red licorice and slight bit of cola which lead into a lovely finish that lingers for a while and sticks in the mouth.
This is a perfect food wine. We prepared a salmon salad that was excellent, but it’s so versatile you really could put this alongside almost any cuisine. This is one of the better Pinots in this price range ($28) that I’ve tasted in recent memory and would rate it 92 points.
Have you tasted wines from Adler Fels? What did you think? What other producers of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay would you recommend? Let us know in the comments below.
The wines tasted for this story were received as a sample for the purpose of writing this review. All reviews are written at the discretion of the individual reviewer. Opinions of the reviewer do not necessarily reflect those of Winemodo.com as a whole, and reviewers are not paid for their reviews by wineries or their affiliated distributors. We at Winemodo.com believe that wine preferences and opinions are often subjective and highly individualistic. Our scores and notes are based on our individual perception of a wine and how well it reflects the area in which the grapes are grown, the expression of the grapes, and also the quality of the finished product.