This 2013 Chardonnay wine is a worthy successor to the 2012 Chardonnay, with a slightly more "Burgundian" toasty character. It was fermented completely in French oak barrels and left on the yeast lees for 10 months in barrel. We allowed our usual 6-8 months bottle age before release. Most importantly, it again is a wine from the same single Russian River Vineyard called Adam and Eve Vineyard. It is a sought after area for growing great Chardonnays. Only 241 cases produced by an award winner winemaker.
Brilliant light straw-gold in color, the aroma is open and reminiscent of apple blossom with nuance of yellow melon and pear. This vintage is also showing a nice toasty oak component often associated with White Burgundy styling. There is a seamless transition to a dry but full mouth feel of fruit and baking spices that echo the nose, which is supported by a finish that is classically Russian River appellation in its delicate minerality and persistence.
This wine was made entirely from a single, small (3.5) vineyard owed by longtime winegrower Dennis Hill and positioned along the upper Russian River Valley near the confluence with Dry Creek. This wine was made from a section of 30+ year old vines planted on the sandy Yolo loam typical of the area.
In 2013, Chardonnay grapes ripened almost a full month earlier than in the very cool growing season of the 2012 vintage. The Adam and Eve vineyard was no exception, coming to beautiful golden ripeness on September 12th. Part of the reason was a less foggy and cool summer in the Russian River Valley, but also a lighter crop load allowed the vines an easier time for sugar accumulation. Cosmetically, our Chardonnay fruit was in perfect condition as we commenced Harvest 2013.
Our Chardonnay fruit was harvested by hand during the night so that it would arrive cold at the winery first thing in the morning. It was pressed whole cluster (without crushing or destemming) to produce the lowest solids, most delicate juice possible. The fresh juice was racked into French oak barrels for fermentation (new oak exposure was about 35% - half medium toast and half medium plus toast), inoculated with a slow fermenting yeast and allowed to ferment over the next several weeks. During this time, we encouraged the malolactic ferment to take place as well, which took the edge off the acidity as well as contributing interesting nuances of toast and cream. The new wine was allowed to remain "sur lie" on the primary yeast for the next 9 months, with monthly stirring to encourage mouth feel and complexity.