Appellation: Central Coast
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
Clones: Wente, 4, 75, 76
Oak treatment: None
Cases made: 20,000
Release date: January 2012
Retail price: $18. Buy
Editors' Choice - Wine Enthusiast
Platinum - Critics Challenge International Wine Competition
92 Points: Best of Class - Unoaked Chardonnay - Los Angeles International Wine Competition 2012
Silver Medal - 2013 SF Chronicle Wine Competition
This bottling was sourced from a number of different vineyards up and down the Central Coast, including approximately 16 % from our Estate vineyard. We focus on developing long term relationships with sustainably farmed vineyards from both very cool coastal areas and warmer inland areas. Fruit from Monterey County brings aromatics of Fuji apple and pineapple. The cooler areas of San Luis Obispo County provide citrus characters while some of the warmer vineyards in the County contribute pear and fig characters to the blend. The diversity of vineyard sources gives this wine its wonderful fruit complexity.
2011 was a very cool vintage, which suited this wine well. A warm January and February with sufficient winter rains led to normal budbreak. Cool spring-like temperatures persisted throughout summer and lengthened the ripening period. A classic Indian summer with a warm October led to impeccable flavor development at lower sugar levels and good retention of acidity.
The grapes were pressed as whole clusters before cold settling to remove most of the solids before fermentation in stainless steel tanks took place. Special cultured yeasts and very low temperatures were used to maximize the clean, bright tropical notes and dense mid-palate in this wine. The wine was bottled immediately after fermentation was complete, with no lees aging or malolactic fermentation taking place.
The core of this wine remains Clone 4, known for its focused tropical fruit characteristics. Smaller amounts of Dijon 75 and 76 lend crisp minerality and spice to this wine.
This wine exhibits classic varietal characteristics with aromas of ripe pineapple, fresh Gala apples, pear and candied lemon. The palate has a weight that belies its unoaked status with a rich entry of fresh citrus fruit that leads into secondary aromas of fig and mineral. Finishing clean and crisp with lingering acidity, the wine is fresh and vivacious, with a dense mid-palate. This vintage proves that with the right grapes and winemaking, Chardonnay does not need oak or malolactic fermentation to shine.