Consisting of Sonoma, Mendocino, Napa, Lake, and Marin Counties, California's North Coast is well established as America's premiere grape growing region. The broad array of choice growing areas presents the winemaker with unparalleled winestyle flexibility. The grapes for this Chardonnay were selected largely from vineyards in the cooler growing regions of the North Coast such as Sonoma and Mendocino. In these cool-climate areas, the grapes ripen slowly, revealing elegant varietal flavors, refreshing acidity that contributes to the wine's finesse, and a silkiness on the palate.
Throughout our winemaking process, minimal handling of the grapes helps us preserve the grapes' fresh fruit flavors. Whole clusters were delivered to the membrane press to minimize the extraction of harsh or bitter tannins. After gentle pressing, the juice was further chilled and allowed to settle while precipitating out most solids. Maintaining cool temperatures throughout the winemaking process enables us to preserve the true varietal fruit flavors for our wine. The settled juice was then gently gravity fed into small oak barrels in our temperature-controlled cellar for fermentation. Fermentation using native yeasts progressed well, yielding additional layers of flavor while the barrels imparted vanilla, spice notes and a creamy texture. After 100% maloactic fermentation, 70% of our Chardonnay was aged sur lies for an average of four months in predominantly first year medium toast American oak cooperage. Monthly stirring of the lees intensified the wine's character and complexity. To retain its full flavors, the wine was racked only once, out of the barrel, and minimally fined and filtered prior to bottling.