2020 Elke Vineyard Chardonnay
Aromas of lemon merengue, honeysuckle, vanilla, and cinnamon. In the glass, the fruit flavors are ripe and forward, with summer stone fruit and melon balanced by dependable Anderson Valley acidity and a twist of orange peel.
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2020 was our 12th vintage of Chardonnay, but our first from the Elke Vineyard. We were very curious to see how the quality compared to our long, previous run with Donnelley Creek Vineyard. With the same grower and clone, and from the same section of Anderson Valley just a mile down the road, disappoint it did not. Right out of the glass jump aromas of lemon meringue, honeysuckle, vanilla and cinnamon. In the glass, the fruit flavors are ripe and forward, with summer stone fruit and melon balanced by dependable Anderson Valley acidity and a twist of orange peel. Barrel fermentation and nine months of aging in French oak have added a touch of toasty richness to this elegant Chardonnay.
For all its ups and downs, 2020 was almost the perfect vintage. Normally we are treated to a heatwave at some point in Mendocino, but it never came. The grapes had a long, mellow summer to slowly accumulate flavor until they were bursting with it. Few exceptional things may have come out of that challenging year; the quality of Chardonnay grapes was one of them.
The grapes were harvested early in the morning and whole bunch pressed into tank. After 48 hours of settling the juice was racked into French oak barrels (25% new). The barrels were not inoculated, and three days later wild yeast began to noticeably ferment. After about 15 days the barrels were inoculated with malo-lactic bacteria as the ferments finished. The barrels were topped and stirred biweekly until the New Year, then only topped. The wine remained on lees for 6 months. It was filtered to allow aging but not fined.
Double Gold: San Francisco Chronicle Intl Wine Competition
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||September 7, 2020
New French Oak
||July 20, 2021