ESTATE GROWN — Columbia Valley

• COMPOSITION: 100% Organically Grown Chardonnay
• pH: 3.40
• TA: 4.9g / 100 ml
• ALCOHOL: 13.9%
• BOTTLED: August 2011
• PRODUCTION: 256 cases


Vintage

Our 2010 vintage was one of the coldest in the years. Toward the end of August our grapes were just beginning to go through veraison, the change from hard green berries to soft plump fruit. With still no warm weather in sight we made the decision to go through the vineyard and thin the crop. Wherever clusters were sitting on top of one another or the fruit load looked too heavy for the vine we dropped crop. With less fruit to ripen the vines gradually picked up the pace but with fall looming we were still not sure the crop would ripen. Someone must have been looking out for us though, because a nice Indian summer came upon us in September where we had a week of +80oF weather and a week of +70oF, and the grapes finished their ripening nicely. The result was fruit of exceptional character with a nice balance of acidity. Harvest of our Reserve Chardonnay took place on the 2nd of October, roughly 2 weeks late.


Winemaking

Every year we strive to make a Reserve Chardonnay full of finesse and elegance. This requires great attention to every detail during harvest. We are careful to harvest these Chardonnay grapes only at daybreak so as to ensure that they come inside the winery still cold from the night air. The fruit is then immediately pressed, but only on our very lightest press setting of 0.2 bar, to extract only the finest of the juices within. After 24 hours of cold settling, the juice is racked to brand new French and American oak barrels. During racking a majority of the juice solids are taken with the juice to increase complexity. The extra solids also help with the integration of wood and wine, preventing the oak from dominating the fruit. The oak can then play its proper role, supporting the wine and lifting the fruit characters to heights unattainable without the new barrels. Once the primary fermentation is complete we inoculate for the malo-lactic fermentation to round out the wine and increase mouth-feel. Post-inoculation, the wines are stirred on a weekly basis using the lees as a tool for additional structure. When the fermentation is complete, very small amounts of sulfur are added to protect the wine from oxidation. The stirring of the lees continues all the way up to the final barrel selection. Of the original 36 barrels of finished wine, we chose 22 for the final cuvee.


Winemaker Comments

Aromas of crisp Asian pear, roasted hazelnuts and a hint of Meyer lemon waft from the glass inviting you to take a sip. A crisp entry with exotic spices mixed with touches of lemon curd and vanilla bean leap across the palate to a long lingering finish that invites you back time and time again. Sea bass in Beurre blanc sauce would be outstanding right now.