Region: Sonoma Coast
Bottling Date: December 13, 2012
Release: March 19, 2013
Production: 47 cases
Drinking Window: Summer 2013 to 2017+
Our chardonnay arrived at the winery just before the rains started, and was whole-cluster pressed immediately upon arrival. The juice was settled overnight, and put to all old French oak barrels for fermentation. A quick lab test showed that the juice was perfect, needing no additions whatsoever. Fermentation started naturally in the barrels after a few days, and continued for about a month in our cool cellar. At dryness malolactic fermentation was arrested to maintain acidity. I stirred the lees about 5 times over the life of the wine, to add texture to the mouthfeel. Thanks to the cool year the alcohol finished at just 12.7%, which really allows the fruit to shine through.
Our block at Fichtenburg is planted to my personal favorite Chardonnay clone, Old Wente, which I have had the pleasure of working with from vineyards as diverse as Donum, Durrell, and Green Acres Hill. 2011 was the first year that these newly grafted vines produced fruit, so the yield was ridiculously low, at barely over a ton to the acre. The result was beautifully concentrated, small, slightly golden berries with plenty of natural acidity.
We are very excited to be offering our first white wine, the 2011 Chardonnay sourced from Fichtenburg Vineyard. The cool 2011 vintage delayed ripening and allowed us to pick late in the season at low sugar, which is ideal for the style of Chardonnay we are trying to make. The 2011 Chardonnay is pale straw in color, with a nod in the direction of gold. The nose shows lemon paraffin, orange blossom, fresh cut flowers, and a distinct minerality. The palate starts with green apple and lemon, with cinnamon and spice flavors coming out on the finish, joined by (oddly enough for a white wine) a hint of strawberry. Intense, layered and complex, this chardonnay shows that you don't need new oak or malolactic fermentation to create a chardonnay with depth and weight.