While light Winter rains and several days of frost in Spring made us nervous, 2012 became a growing season that winemakers dream of - great set during bloom, mild Summer temperatures with no heat spells, moderate Fall days. In essence, the stars aligned and brought us the best quality fruit our vineyard has produced in 47 years. Harvest began on September 5.
The newly pressed Chardonnay juice resembles unfined, unfiltered fruit juice. The clearer the juice, the fruitier the fermentation will be, so we clarified the juice by settling it overnight at 50° F and then inoculated it with yeast. We used four different strains of yeast, each providing unique components of richness to the wine.
To add complexity and depth, we fermented 50% of this wine in French oak barrels producing a roasted nuts aroma and greater depth on the palate. The remaining 50% was fermented in stainless steel tanks at 56° F to retain more of the grapes’ aromas of citrus and tropical fruit. After alcoholic fermentation, 35% of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation, converting the wine’s natural malic acid to the softer lactic acid, adding a buttery character to the aroma and a rich, creamy texture on the palate.
Aged for nine months in French (88%) and American (12%) oak, then bottled in July 2013.
At a tasting in August 2016, we tasted the 2012 and here are our notes: Reflective of that fine weather, the 2012 opens with honeysuckle, flinty, and sweet grapefruit aromas. Round and supple on the palate, it has ripe pear and crème caramel flavors. Lovely now, it will continue to age well for at least another year.