Fall ReleaseHyde Vineyard Clare Chardonnay
2004

Winemaker’s Notes

Since our inception in 1996, we have long resisted the temptation to seek out vineyards outside our Russian River Valley home turf. Despite intriguing offers to work with notable vineyards designated by excellent producers, we have always preferred to forge our own path within the appellation, building close relationships with our growers based on working with a vineyard over the long term. There comes a point, however, when high-mindedness and the wow-factor collide and you quietly allow just one exception to your hitherto stringent rules. We have long admired the Hyde Vineyard in Carneros which has consistently produced many of the finest Chardonnays in the state over a sustained period. Farmed by the Hyde family, we were fortunate to be offered a two acre block of prized Old Wente selection grown on a gentle east-facing slope in the heart of the vineyard. These mature vines produce wines of such breathtaking concentration and astonishing natural acid structure that they are a perfect match for our in-house Chardonnay ideal. Ripening a full week ahead of our first Russian River sources, we harvested some of the most beautiful fruit we have ever witnessed and the decision to designate a small portion of it was an easy and natural one. The wine slowly fermented and was aged in all new barrels for a year without sulphur, before being racked off the lees to neutral oak for an additional six months of maturation. We opted not to stir the lees to preserve the wine's firm acid spine and taut core of mineral fruit. At bottling the wine was both dramatically flavored and powerfully structured but was starting to retreat into its tight shell. Clearly one of the finest wines we have ever made, this is the antithesis of sweet, fruity, upfront Californian Chardonnay and as such I suggest cellaring at least a year or two before serving.

Pale yellow-green color. Striking minerality dominates the aromas which are youthfully reticent. With air, baked apple, smoke and light honeysuckle notes are revealed. The palate is intense and layered with great freshness and tension despite the richness. Ripe white peach, sweet lime and wet stone notes lead the way with background flavors of fresh nutmeg and mint. The wine shows great length and precision to its brooding, youthful frame. Currently tight and unyielding, this bottling demands at least a year's cellaring and aging up to 8 years in a cool cellar. Decant in its youth and serve no cooler than 55 degrees.

Andy Smith

Vineyard

Harvest Date

August 24th

Appellation

Napa Carneros

Clones

Hyde Wente selection

Age of Vines at Harvest

12 years

Barrel Aging

Barrel aged sur lie for 18 months in 100% new French oak from Tonnelleries Francois Freres

Production

190 cases of 750mL
18 cases of 1.5L
10 bottles of 3L

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