ESTATE GROWN — Columbia Valley
• pH: 3.60
• TA: 0.68%
• ALCOHOL: 13.5%
• PRODUCTION: 1,709 cases (750ml)
Unusually cool conditions during the 1999 spring delayed the vine cycle for several weeks. We determined that an aggressive thinning (manual crop reduction) would be necessary to produce the high quality grapes the Gordon Estate is famous for. After a cool summer, September abruptly turned sunny and hot, allowing our grapes to gradually reach an optimum level of ripeness. We harvested the Chardonnay from our estate vineyard during the last week of September.
We pressed our grapes into stainless steel tanks and cooled the juice. After a couple of days, we added yeasts and transferred the fermenting juice to barrels. In 1999, we experimented with a new yeast strain in addition to the Burgundian yeast that we traditionally use. This strain enhances complexity of the wine by adding creamy butterscotch tones with smoky aromas. The wine was left on the lees after alcoholic fermentation and underwent partial malolactic fermentation (approximately 25%) in order to increase complexity and add a richer mouthfeel. We racked the wine from barrels after eight months and proceeded to a fairly tight filtration prior to bottling.
Our 1999 estate grown Chardonnay is a medium gold color. The nose shows rich, toasty apple and pear aromas with a hint of banana. The ripe, succulent apple, citrus and toast flavors are well balanced by a bright acidity. A crisp, fairly long finish will make our Chardonnay a prime accompaniment to poached or barbecued salmon or chicken. The body of this wine will also allow a more spicy pairing.