The drought continued in 2021 with 24” of rain (average is ~36”). Early bloom in March and light fruit set in May was followed by a cool Spring and Summer. The lower yields and cool temperatures were ideal for the Chardonnay and allowed the grapes to develop intense flavors. We began harvest on August 30.
Just pressed Chardonnay juice resembles unfiltered fruit juice. The clearer the juice, the fruitier the fermentation will be, so we clarified the juice by cold-settling it overnight at 48° F; the sediment settled to the bottom of the tank. 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.
We fermented 50% of this wine in French oak barrels to add complexity and depth; barrel fermentation integrated the oak into the wine, giving it a roasted nuts aroma and greater richness on the palate. The remaining 50% was fermented in stainless steel tanks at 52° 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 oak, then bottled in July 2022.
Young and fruit forward, the 2021 Chardonnay opens with bright fruit aromas of pomelo, candied lemon peel, lychee, Fuji apple and Comice pear. Lively and fresh on the palate, it has pink grapefruit, Charentais melon and toasted brioche flavors. The 2021 has great aging potential as evidenced by its richness on the palate and its long, lingering finish. As this wine ages, it will develop the nuances of bottle bouquet that our Chardonnays display as they mature.
23.0° Brix sugar
0.66 g/100 mls acidity
0.56 g/100 mls acidity