2017 Reserve Chardonnay
2017 was the perfect Winter with plenty of rain and cold temperatures. By April, our year-to-date rain total was 63”. With the exception of a few hot days in June and then again in early July, we had moderate Summer temperatures allowing the grapes to ripen evenly. We began harvest on September 3.
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 2019.
The 2017 Reserve Chardonnay is young and fruit-forward with aromas of pink grapefruit, lemon blossom and Charentais melon. Bright fruit notes on the entry, it has flavors of pear tart and sweet cream. The vanilla toastiness from barrel-fermentation and extended barrel-aging enhance its bouquet. Lovely now, the 2017 Reserve has the structure and excellent balance to allow it to age for at least three more years.
23.1° Brix sugar
0.63 g/100 mls acidity
0.47 g/100 mls acidity