Appellation: Chamisal Vineyard, Edna Valley
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
Clones: 5,76, 96, 352,, Chamisal
Oak treatment: 14 months in 26%
new French oak.
Cases made: 1,100
Release date: May, 2012
Retail price: $28.
89 points - Connoisseurs' Guide
"Wine of the Week" / 4 stars (highly recommended) - Press Democrat
Chamisal was the first vineyard planted in the Edna Valley in 1973 and now contains 80 acres planted to 5 varieties and 25 clonal selections. The nearby Pacific ocean creates a long temperate growing season for exceptional hang time, which combines with the calcareous, clay-rich soil to produce fruit with exceptional intensity and complex flavors.
2010 will go down as one of the coolest years in Californian history. A very chilly spring with significant frost events delayed budbreak 10-14 days behind normal. Due to cooler ocean temperatures, the summer was much cooler than average with the June coastal fog persisting into July and August. An extended heat wave in the last week of September gave us record-breaking heat, with temperatures exceeding 110°F for four days, allowing ripening to catch up a bit. Due to our cool maritime climate, the Chardonnay weathered this heat wave and the resulting flavors show ripeness without high alcohol and good retention of acidity.
The berries were hand harvested at night, hand sorted and whole cluster pressed before the juice was cold settled and fermented in a combination of tanks and barrels using both native and cultured yeast. Full malolactic fermentation followed with the wine being aged on the lees for eight months. Then, the wine was racked to a tank for blending, remaining there for one month prior to being returned to barrel for an additional five months.
This blend contains five of our seven Chardonnay clones: 96, 352, 76, 5 and Chamisal. The diverse mix of clones used lends complexity and a strong terroir-driven aspect to this bottling, as an individual clone does not overshadow the others. Instead, the overall character is reflective of the vineyard site.
The wine is filled with aromas of lovely lifted citrus, pear and fig framed by classic notes of spicy French oak and a floral buttery character. The palate deftly balances clean, ripe fruit with a round mid-palate from the long lees aging. Minerality and acidity provide complexity and length.