2007 Carneros Chardonnay
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About the Vineyard...
Our Chardonnay owes it style, depth, and structure to intensely
flavored, low yielding, heirloom clones growing in two Carneros
vineyards: on the Napa side, the Toyon Farm and on the Sonoma side, the
Sangiacomo family’s Vella Ranch. We hand-selected the cuttings
ourselves, from older vineyards in the Carneros area. These cuttings
are reputed to have origins tracing to Paul Masson who imported them
from Burgundy in the early 1940’s, from none other than Louis Latour's
renowned Corton Charlemagne vineyard. These selections are often
referred to as “Old Wente” or “Robert Young,” denoting the sourced
mother blocks in the 1960s.
About the Vintage...
The weather in 2007 remained cool
and steady throughout August and September, allowing the grapes to
achieve optimal ripeness levels without sacrificing acidity, resulting
in wines that come close to that difficult to realize platonic point of
balance between power and grace, depth and vivacity. Our Chardonnay,
as usual, came in after much of our Pinot Noir, with intense flavors
and a high, balanced acidity. This combination has yielded a
Chardonnay with tremendous structure and power, and a promise of even
greater complexity with time in the bottle. In light of this, we opted
to hold this wine until September 2009 before releasing it for sale,
giving it an extra five months in the bottle and allowing it to reveal
more of the complexity and nuance that makes this a truly memorable
Chardonnay, worthy of any table.
About the Wine...
We aspire to guide our Chardonnay toward a layered, complex, and
expressive style that develops gracefully in the bottle and shows
enticing minerality, vivacious fruit, length and structure. For us, the
watchword is balance. We gently pressed the grapes as whole clusters,
settled and fermented entirely in French oak from three different
coopers, chosen for their unique synergism and support of the fruit on
the palate. Nearly half of the barrels were new. We used a variety of
yeasts, including native strains, and fermentation proceeded evenly and
slowly, averaging a cool 55°F. The wine was aged on its yeast lees,
which were stirred weekly through May. 584 cases produced.
Power, opulent and layered fruit:melon, clementine, nectarine, yellow
peach, figs, key lime, and lemon cream aromas are layered above
brioche, cloves, cardamon, and crème brulleé. Powerful, ripe apple,
pear, and citrus flavors coupled with minerality and lush textures of
fruit tannins and lees present a palate that is both mouth-filling and
lengthy. The fruit flavors and rich textures continue through the
finish, uplifted by bright citrus notes and acidity. As the finish
lingers, the wine strikes a compelling balance between texture,
minerality, and acidity.