Brittan Chardonnay 2016
The 2016 Chardonnay is our most unique yet. Drawing from exclusively McMinnville AVA, this Chardonnay offers lively aromas of honeysuckle, tangerine and Meyer lemon. In the palate, an elegant framework of structure and acidity is complemented by a refreshing thread of citrus fruits and spice.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Stunningly rich, yet perfectly balanced, this is a superb bottle in every respect. Pinpoint ripeness leads to lush and spicy fruit flavors of apple, pear and banana. There’s a pleasing yeasty/bready note, along with lovely barrel toast (23% was new). The wine is smooth from start to finish, and just as good on days two and three, suggesting that it will cellar nicely. But why wait—it’s quite possibly going to be your favorite Chardonnay of the year. Editors’ Choice.
The 2016 Chardonnay, aged eight months in 30% new French oak, has an open nose of warm yellow apple, quince, dusty earth, dried hay, honey and oats with notes of crushed shell. It’s medium-bodied with a rounded, silky texture, intense, savory flavor layers and seamless freshness, finishing long and plush. 390 cases produced.
Robert Brittan left Stags’ Leap Winery in Napa after 16 years as Winemaker and Estate Manager to fulfill his dream of making Pinot Noir and Syrah from unique sites in cooler climates. His winemaking career began in his dorm room at Oregon State University, where he was a physics and philosophy major.
Being both geeky and broke, he soon realized that alcohol was an attractant to co-eds, so he began his career in fermentation sciences in order to get a date. He ultimately completed his education at UC Davis and moved to Napa Valley, where he made wines for Far Niente, Saint Andrews and Stags’ Leap Winery.
With over 40 years of experience growing grapes and making wine, he brings a significant amount of viticultural and winemaking knowledge to Brittan Vineyards. He has always had a passion for Pinot Noir, and hopes that with the fruit from the Brittan estate vineyard in the foothills of the Coastal Range, he can bring a new voice to the McMinnville AVA, and help form the style and definition of Pinot Noir from this recently designated winegrowing region.
In addition to his own wines, Robert is also the winemaker for several other brands, to include: Blakeslee, deLancellotti, Fairsing, Noble Pig, Winderlea and Youngberg Hill. As a result, Robert is now making wines from all six of the sub-AVA’s of the Willamette Valley and has learned first hand that Pinot Noir lends itself to many wonderful interpretations, depending on the soils and microclimates where it is grown.
Stretching southwest from the city of McMinnville, the AVA with the same name covers about 40,000 acres across 20 miles until it meets the Van Duzer Corridor. This corridor is the only break in the Coast Range whose gap allows the cool Pacific Ocean air to flow eastward into the Willamette Valley.
The Pacific's moderating winds hit McMinnville’s south and southeast facing slopes where cool-climate varieties—namely Pinot noir and Pinot blanc thrive on ridges at between 200 to 1,000 feet in elevation.
Soils here are primarily uplifted marine sedimentary loam and silt, with alluvial formations; McMinnville receives less rainfall than its neighbors to the east because it is situated in the rain shadow of the Coast Range.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.