The Russian River defines the Alexander Valley with foggy mornings, warm days and diurnal temperature swings of 40 to 50 degrees. Estate vineyards, combined with classic winemaking techniques maximize the balance of fruit and acidity in our Chardonnay.
Although the weather was a bit cooler than usual early in the 2019 growing season, there were no unusual temperature swings during bud break or flowering. The moderate temperatures continued through the summer, allowing the grapes to mature gradually. After 2018’s record setting crop size, 2019 swung back to an average yield.
We harvest 70% of our Chardonnay at night when the grapes are cool to retain the natural acidity, then cold ferment those lots in stainless steel, without malolactic fermentation or barrel aging, to highlight the citrus and green apple flavors. We whole-cluster press 30% of the best fruit and barrel ferment that portion in French oak barrels. The barrel fermented lots undergo secondary malolactic fermentation and age on the lees for six to eight months to develop roundness and body.
The 2019 is a full bodied, yet well balanced Chardonnay with just a kiss of oak. There are aromas of apple, pear, pineapple, and vanilla mixed with floral notes. Hints of citrus and bright flavors of pear, apple, tropical fruits and peaches fill the glass. This is a Chardonnay that will appeal to a broad group of wine drinkers!