Stephen Ross Dooley was hired right out of college by the Louis M. Martini Winery in Napa, one of the early pioneers of today's California wine industry. Starting out, as Dooley himself likes to put it, "at the bottom of the totem pole", he was initially employed as a "shoveler", shoveling pomace out of red wine fermentation tanks. Eventually, he became the assistant winemaker.
A few years later he was offered the winemaker position at Edna Valley Vineyards, one of the first premiere vineyards in the Central Coast. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were the main players here and in 1994, after seven successful vintages at Edna Valley, he decided to put the play on himself.
Dooley found himself quickly adopting the less is more "Burgundian style" of making his wines. In the years that followed, he continued to make wine at Edna Valley Vineyard along the lines established by its owner, Chalone, but also added many of his own nuances and style. A major factor in the winery's success was the extraordinary grapes supplied by the vineyard. He may have left the winery, but he didn't leave the vineyard as it is still his main source of grapes today.
Dooley is "the" guy when it comes to Chardonnay from Edna Valley. He put it on the map and it's still there. Without the cost constraints he had previously, Steve can put all the points in the wine and this beauty is one of his best.
Great grapes from a great winemaker? Absolutely! Here is the understated, yet perfectly quaffed Chardonnay with all the nuances in place. Green apple, hints of spice, vanilla and the stinging finish just glide through as it was meant to be.