2016 Reserve Chardonnay
A slow start to Winter made us nervous, but the rains finally came in mid-January and come they did. We ended the season with twice our normal rainfall - 65 inches! With the exception of a few hot days in July, we had moderate Summer temperatures which allowed the grapes to ripen slowly and evenly. We began harvest on September 6.
Our Reserve Chardonnay is made following techniques I learned during my internship at Domaine des Comtes Lafon in Meursault, France. We began in the vineyard by using a Burgundian-bred Chardonnay clone (Dijon 76) for our grapes. At the winery, we inoculated the juice with two Burgundian yeasts (Montrachet and CY 3079), then barrel-fermented the juice in new and one-year-old French oak barrels to give the wine a roasted nuts aroma and a richness on the palate. After primary fermentation, we moved half of this wine and its lees (yeast sediment) to older French oak barrels to allow the wine to develop and mature without becoming too oaky. The Reserve Chardonnay has less than 10% new oak. Like at Lafon, all of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation. This traditional Burgundian technique converted the grapes’ natural malic acid to the softer lactic acid, adding richness and complexity to the palate.
We then aged the Reserve sur lies (on its sediment) in barrels in our caves for 15 months and utilized bâtonnage (stirring the lees) every two weeks to give the wine a creamy texture and a flinty aroma. The wine was bottled in January 2018.
At our Annual Vertical Tasting in January 2024, we tasted the 2016 and here are our notes: Lemon blossom, Bosc pear, oyster shell and Charentais melon notes. Sweet vanilla cream with flintiness, toasted brioche and wet stone. Long, lingering finish.
23.1° Brix sugar
0.69 g/100 mls acidity
0.49 g/100 mls acidity