ESTATE GROWN — Columbia Valley
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• COMPOSITION: 100% Chardonnay
• pH: 3.97
• TA: 4.3g / 100 ml
• ALCOHOL: 13.4%
• BOTTLED: August 2013
• PRODUCTION: 322 cases


Vintage

Our 2012 vintage endured a roller coaster of challenging weather conditions. With no hint of the pandemonium to come, spring began on time with normal temperatures. This quickly gave way to unusual temperature fluctuations, with a brief heat wave in April followed by a downward temperature spike and unsettled weather. Once again in May the heat returned, only to again quickly give way to cold and rain. As summer began, our June was cold and damp while July brought humidity and thunderstorms. Lightning-caused fires created an enduring smoky haze which blew continually across the Columbia Valley. In August conditions turned to dry and hot with triple-digits being commonplace. September brought only slight relief to the heat, which meant the fruit was ready for picking on the last day of summer. We harvested our 2012 Estate Chardonnay from the 21st of September through the 26th.


Winemaking

Our goal with the Reserve Chardonnay program is to create a wine exhibiting finesse and elegance. This requires great attention to every detail during harvest. We begin by harvesting our Chardonnay grapes at daybreak, ensuring they arrive at the winery refreshed from the night air. The fruit is immediately pressed using the lightest press setting, extracting only the finest juice within. After a 24 hour period of cold settling, we racked the juice to new French and American oak barrels for fermentation. During racking a portion of the juice solids are taken to barrel 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. Post primary fermentation we inoculated the wine to initiate malo-lactic fermentation. This conversion of Malic acid to lactic acid rounds out the wine and increases mouth-feel. At this stage, battonage or the stirring of the lees commences. This serves the dual purpose of protecting the wine from unwanted oxidation and actively encourages the lees to contribute structure back to the aging wine. Upon completion of the malo-lactic fermentation small amounts of sulfur dioxide are added to protect the wine during its elevage. Of the original 22 barrels of finished wine 14 were chosen for the final cuvee.


Winemaker Comments

Ripe honeydew melon and tropical papaya with touches of vanilla bean are the vanguard of this aromatic Chardonnay. A smooth silky texture with deftly intertwined character from oak and yeast form the next wave of sensation, followed by freshly picked apple and lemon zest. A savory yet palate cleansing finish rounds out our 2012 Reserve Chardonnay.