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2002 Carneros Chardonnay

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About the Vineyard...
The 2002 Chardonnay is the culmination of plant selection we have been working on since 1997. We had been selecting cuttings from the most flavorful plants from the vineyards we had sourced - with the idea of making our own “super” selection. The vineyards were planted to “Old Wente” and “Robert Young” selections, so we were already starting with some of the most revered cuttings in California*. Even so, we were intent on making a good thing even better. We had these cuttings planted for us at the Toyon Ranch on the Napa side of Carneros and they produced their first juice in 2001. This blends with the Old Wente selection from the Vella Ranch.

About the Vintage...
The 2002 vintage was exceptional across California. The fruit ripened slowly and evenly with no sudden heat spells or extended cool periods. We were able to pick the grapes exactly when we wanted with ideal sugar and above average acid levels. As a result, this vintage has seen a complete malolactic fermentation.

About the Wine...
We aspire to guide our Chardonnay toward a layered, complex, and food friendly style that develops gracefully in the bottle. For us, the key word is balance. Additionally, we aim to highlight the unique characteristics of the vineyards and clonal selections we work with. We gently pressed the grapes as whole clusters, settled and fermented entirely in French Oak, of which 45% was new. We used a variety of yeasts, including native yeast, and three Burgundian coopers chosen for their synergism and support of the fruit. Fermentation proceeded slowly at cool temperature, averaging 55°F. The wine was aged on its yeast lees, which were stirred weekly through May. The wine was not racked until bottling, at which time it was moved with inert Argon gas. Malolactic fermentation was 100% complete. Wine analysis: Alc. 14.2%, pH 3.44, ta 6.0 g/l. 750 cases produced.

Tasting Notes...
The wine is big, rich, and layered with juicy fruit, freesia, ripe apple, and lemon cream aromas layered above creamy yeast notes, cocoa and vanillin. As the wine opens, the complexity of the wine shows, display additional nuances of macadamia nuts and tropical fruits. Exceptional richness and fruit intensity with mineral notes framing the opulently textured palate. The finish is long and focused with nicely balanced acidity.