Spring Release Russian River Valley Chardonnay
The 2006 Chardonnay vintage shares many climatic similarities with its immediate predecessor, yet the wine itself most closely reminds me of an old favorite, the 2000 chloe release, one of our strongest early efforts. Generally it was a long cool growing season and we harvested many of our vineyards in the second half of October as sugars built slowly in the cool conditions. In contrast to our Pinot vineyards, the later-flowering Chardonnay crop from our stellar line-up of old vine vineyards was more normal in size. A couple of brief showers in mid-October raised the specter of Botrytis bunch rot, which caused the loss of the entire crop in our Sullivan vineyard, thus reducing production by over 20%. It has also lent an additional layer of honeyed richness to the wine, increasing its early drinkability and creamy texture, yet all the vibrant structure and precision of our coastal settling is there in abundance. In the cellar the wines clearly signaled their inherent richness from the start, so we opted not to stir the lees in the presence of so much natural texture, preferring the mild austerity that the coastal acids bring. A wonderful new source this year is the Searby Vineyard, a high elevation thirty-five year old east-faced planting that we have long admired and which sits close to Heintz Vineyard atop the Occidental ridgeline. These majestic old vines are slow to mature their small crop of tiny lime and honeysuckle-infused berries, which burst forth with all the thrilling pungent intensity that befits this striking site.
Trademark aromatic intensity with rich aromas of ripe fig, honeyed citrus and sweet melon which blend with firmer notes of mineral, hazelnut and smoky flint. The palate shows immediate upfront richness with quince, peach and honeysuckle then tightens to youthful structure, length and minerality. With air the wine unfolds to offer mouth-filling texture and broad honeyed ripeness yet retains vibrant acidity and impressive mineral length. Vintage conditions result in a wine that offers great upfront richness with the promise of two to three years positive in-bottle development. Serve at no cooler than 55 degrees to ensure full flavor development.
24% Dutton Vineyards
10% Hansel Vineyard
September 21st through October 26th
Russian River Valley
Old Wente, Robert Young & UCD 108
Age of Vines at Harvest
Barrel aged sur lie for 15 months in 40% new French oak
2,550 cases of 750mL
80 cases of 1.5L
12 bottles of 3L