2020 Reserve Chardonnay
2020 was quite a year…light Winter rains followed by a cool Spring brought uneven bloom and yielded a small harvest. While it was a nerve-racking fire season, we were lucky in 2020. Neither the Lightning Complex Fires nor the Glass Fire impacted our vineyard or fruit. Harvest began on August 21.
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 is aged in approximately 8% 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 2022.
The 2020 Reserve Chardonnay is fruit-forward, fresh and youthful. It opens with candied lemon peel, Daphne blossoms, Charentais melon and toasted brioche aromas. Elegant, round, supple on the palate, it has flavors of grapefruit zest, roasted nuts and fresh cream. The sweet vanilla toastiness from barrel-fermentation and extended barrel-aging enhance its bouquet. Lovely now, the 2020 Reserve has the structure and excellent balance to allow it to age for at least three more years.
22.4° Brix sugar
0.67 g/100 mls acidity
0.62 g/100 mls acidity