This is our PREMIER RELEASE from the Durell Vineyard owned by Bill Price III. Durell Vineyard is a justly famous site just to the west of the Town of Sonoma. This vineyard was planted in the Mid-1980's to a selection of Chardonnay clones. It is immaculately farmed by Steve Hill, who has been the vineyard manager for more than 20 years at this site.
2001 was a very good year marked by extremes of heat (mid-June) and cooler periods finishing with a long mild fall. It produced moderate crops throughout Northern California. Durell Vineyard delivered interesting grapes from two different portions of their vineyards in 2001. The 2001 harvest produced grapes with great purity of flavor and distinctive vineyard characters. The grapes were fully mature with developed flavors and balanced acidity. This being our first harvest with the crew from Durell Vineyard we were thrilled to get the grapes in such great condition.
The grapes were not crushed or de-stemmed before they were pressed - instead a very gentle technique called "whole cluster pressing" was used which insures only the most delicate and perfumed fruitiness in the wine. Clusters are loaded directly into the press and where it is gently and repeatedly pressed at very low pressures extracting the juice. This juice is then cold settled, and racked into small French oak barrels (70% new) to ferment. We encourage malo-lactic fermentation to add complexity, and also for the textural components brought into the finished wines. After fermentation is complete, we continue to lees stir to encourage malo-lactic fermentation and to better integrate all the flavors of the fruit, oak and lees into a seamless whole. Aged sur lie for 10 months - the wine was then bottled without filtration.
Tasting Notes: Pale, yellow-green color, aromas of lime, hazelnut and pear they expand and open in the glass to reveal multi-tiered complexity - ripe peach/pear and apple notes grace the flavors, with smoky and spicy barrel notes providing a nice backdrop. Ripe and flavorful now - it should expand and become even more complex with a year or two of bottle age.