Delightful aromas of lemon zest, green pineapple and white peach rise from the glass, followed by a terroir-driven hint of crushed wet rock minerality. On the palate, this wine is sleek and elegant, with bright citrus and stone fruit flavors, and sophisticated notes of almond paste and chamomile that linger on the finish.
The nose of this wine offers dazzling aromas of fresh orchard fruit, including Asian pear, green apple and white peach, as well as richer notes of white corn, lemon custard and a hint of nuttiness. On the palate, flavors of spicy pear and nectarine are supported by seamlessly integrated oak and just a touch of acidity, resulting in a lovely texture, and a long, resonant fish.
Five blocks of Chardonnay are planted in the well-drained, benchland soils. The famous Gauer Upper Barn clone, one of California’s most sought-after Chardonnay selections, comprises 80 percent of these vines. The 2016 Estate Chardonnay is crafted primarily from a mix of Gauer, Robert Young and clone 4 fruit. From the Gauer clone, the Chardonnay derives flavors of Asian pear, spice and a natural nuttiness, the Robert Young grapes add lovely acidity and the clone 4 grapes contribute mild tropical flavors.
With abundant winter rainfall, and a warm February, the 2016 growing season had an early budbreak. The early start to the season was followed by a warm summer without any significant heat events, and an ideally timed cooldown in August. The result was a robust crop of exceptional quality. We began harvesting our Chardonnay in mid-August and were done by September 12th, with average Brix of 21.0 to 22.5˚.
For complexity and texture, we did a traditional pigeage for two to three hours, and allowed one-third skin contact. To accentuate the signature fruit and natural nuttiness of our estate grapes, we also fermented this wine with 100% indigenous yeast. Aging occurred in both barrels (85%) and larger casks (15%), all of which were French oak (5% new). The wine was fermented sur lie for 8 months and underwent 90% indigenous malolactic fermentation.