We had a cold, dry Winter (our rainfall total was half of normal) and a warm Spring in 2014 which led to an early budbreak. We anticipated an early harvest (beginning in the middle of August), but moderate Summer temperatures ripened the grapes slowly. Harvest began on September 2.
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 48° F allowing the sediment to fall to the tank’s bottom. We then moved the juice and inoculated it with yeast. We used four different strains of yeast, each providing a unique flavor profile to the wine.
To add complexity and depth, we fermented 50% of this wine in French oak barrels giving it a roasted nuts aroma and greater depth on the palate. The remaining 50% was fermented in stainless steel tanks at 54° F to retain more of the grapes’ aromas of citrus and tropical fruit. After alcoholic fermentation, 40% 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 2015.
Floral and elegant, the 2014 opens with pink grapefruit and flinty aromas. It is bright and lively on the palate with flavors of sweet cream, tropical fruit and vanilla toastiness that add richness and depth to the wine. Complex, round, fresh, the 2014 is both youthful and well balanced. As it ages, it will develop the nuances of bottle bouquet that our Chardonnays display as they mature.
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