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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.

Tasting Notes...
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.