February 11, 2015
July 1, 2015
The 2013 Chardonnay is fairly dark in color, verging on pale gold, due to its extended time in neutral oak barrels. The nose is dominated by herbal, floral, and soil notes, with hints of lemon rind and other citrus barely perceptible. The most notable character on the palate is an incredible minerality or salinity, but there is fruit there too, with kiwi, melon, and white currant. There is a little bit of chardonnay's signature roundness on the finish, but the wine overall is bright and bracing, with a slightly phenolic tinge to the mid-palate.
Our 2013 chardonnay was sourced from the same small vineyard as the 2011 and 2012, which is planted to Old Wente clone, by far my favorite for chardonnay in California. With small berries and clusters, the yield is always low enough to yield concentrated flavors, and Wente also ripens much more slowly than the Dijon clones, which means that it provides the lower alcohol levels that we are looking for. As in the past, they style of chardonnay we are looking for is fairly lean, with lots of acid and definitely without overt buttery, oaky, or fruity flavors. For this reason the fruit was picked as soon as the acids reached the appropriate levels. The fruit was then taken directly to the winery and pressed whole-cluster and taken straight to barrel without settling. By keeping the heavier lees the wine tends to show more earthy and savory characteristics, and less tropical fruit. The juice was fermented using native yeast in old oak barrels, and then prevented from going through malolactic fermentation. The wine then aged on the lees for about twelve months with no stirring, before being racked and bottled in February, 2015.