ESTATE GROWN — Columbia Valley
• pH: 3.68
• TA: 4.7 g/L
• ALCOHOL: 13.7%
• BOTTLED: December 2013
• PRODUCTION: 2,600 cases
The 2013 growing season embodied the recurring theme of warm and dry. Hot, 90 degree temperatures came on suddenly in early spring, lasting for almost six days. These stretches of hot weather came and went frequently throughout the entire growing season. Even more bizarre were the cold snaps that often followed the periods of hot weather. Two of these were major storms, one at the end of spring and a second just after we finished picking our Chardonnay. The resilient grapevine sucked up all the delicious heat and translated it into golden globes full of ripe fruit flavors, while the colder and turbulent weather gave the vines a chance to rest and recuperate. The result was some of the best Chardonnay fruit we have ever produced. Harvest of our 2013 Chardonnay began on the 16th of September and ended three days later on the 19th.
We harvested our estate grown Chardonnay during the cool morning hours and brought it directly to the winery for pressing. The freshly squeezed juice was transferred to tank and settled for 24 hours at 55 degrees Fahrenheit to keep the juice fresh and vibrant. Fermentation was conducted in both 60 gallon oak barrels and stainless steel tanks. Barrel fermentation provides complexity from the juice and yeast interacting with the wood. Additional character is gained from the close proximity to the spent yeast, once fermentation is complete. Fermentation in tank allows for cooler fermentation temperatures and maintains fresh fruit character and acidity. In 2013 we continued with a successful technique from the previous vintage for the malo-lactic fermentation (MLF), co-inoculation. Twenty-four hours after we added the yeast, a starter culture for the MLF was introduced. Early inoculation gives the culture a better chance to grow and acclimate to the new environment without the toxic effect of alcohol on the bacteria. With a rapid MLF we protected the wines sooner than in previous vintages, preserving the fresh fruit character of the grape. Once all fermentations were complete, the individual cuvees were combined, bringing together all the pieces of the final blend in preparation for bottling. The wine was settled and chilled in tank before being gently filtered and bottled.
Our 2013 Estate Chardonnay is a joyful expression of youthfulness and vibrancy–the wine exhibits just a hint of green hue reminiscent of new spring growth. This Chardonnay has aroma in abundance–tangerine, pear, banana and touches of lightly toasted oak tantalize the nose. The texture is subtle and intriguing with bright fruit flavors mixed with caramel and toasted marshmallow. A lively and lingering finish makes this wine a perfect accompaniment for your relaxing evening. Cheers!