ESTATE GROWN — Columbia Valley

• pH: 3.42
• TA: 6.7 g/L
• ALCOHOL: 13.9%
• BOTTLED: September 2011
• PRODUCTION: 1,213 cases


Vintage

The 2010 vintage was one of the coldest 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 no warm weather in sight the decision was made 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 the fruit was removed. With less fruit to ripen, the vines gradually picked up the pace but with fall looming there were definite doubts at to whether or not 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 +80 degrees Fahrenheit weather followed by a week of +70 degrees Fahrenheit, and the grapes finished their ripening nicely. The result was fruit of exceptional character with a nice balance of acidity. Harvest of the 2010 Gordon Estate Chardonnay took place from the 2nd to the 8th of October, roughly 2 weeks late.


Winemaking

Picking of our Estate Chardonnay began in the cool morning hours of October 2nd. The juice was pressed to tank and settled for 24 hours at 55 degrees Fahrenheit which helps keep the juice fresh and vibrant. After settling, the juice was racked to barrels and inoculated with the yeast strains D254, CY3079 and QA23. D254 is know for producing Chardonnay with pear, pineapple, hazelnut and almond characters and occasionally a touch of butterscotch. CY3079 is an isolate from Burgundy and is an excellent yeast for barrel fermentation and sur lees aging. When accompanied by a stirring of the lees, this yeast will produce characters of toasted bread and honey with floral aromatics. The final yeast was QA23 which enhances the fruity character of the grapes. With multiple vineyard picks and yeast strains the goal was to take maximum advantage of our vineyard, retaining great acid from the early pick and choosing yeast that would add complexity and riper fruit character from the later pick. The wines were fermented dry over the course of 20 days before being inoculated for malo-lactic fermentation. This secondary fermentation helps build body and richness while increasing the sensation of fruitiness in the wine. Upon completion of the malo-lactic fermentation small amounts of sulfur dioxide were added to protect the wine and preserve all of the character that had developed to this point. The wines were then blended, bringing together all the individual pieces in preparation for bottling. The wine was settled and chilled in tank before being gently filtered and bottled.


Winemaker Comments

The brilliant appearance of our 2010 Estate Chardonnay is accompanied by aromas and taste that are equally brilliant–golden apples, pineapple and lemon zest blended with warm butter and slight hints of vanilla. The entry of the wine is bright and full, yet manages to dance lively across the palate leaving you with a long lingering finish making it a perfect food companion. Enjoy!