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Preston Wine Cellars Chardonnay 2002

Chardonnay from Columbia Valley, Washington
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    Winemaker Notes

    This fruity Chardonnay has hints of vanilla flavors and is lightly touched with oak.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Preston Wine Cellars

    Preston Wine Cellars

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    Preston Wine Cellars, Columbia Valley, Washington
    Preston Premium Wines, Washington State's premier family owned and operated winery, located in the fertile irrigated farmlands of Washington State's Southern Columbia Basin, is one of the most promising winegrowing endeavors of the world. Eastern Washington, climatically similar to Northern Europe, is fast gaining recognition as a major production area for wine grapes of exceptional varietal character and balance. Bill and Joann Preston were among the enthusiastic pioneers who early on recognized the potential of Vintis vinifera in this unexploited area. The Preston family established their 50-acre vineyard in 1972-73, planting several varieties of native European grapevines at their Pasco site (heat summation Region II). This was increased to 171 acres in 1979. The facility is now run by their son and daughter Brent Preston and Cathy Preston-Mouncer.

    The Preston family, in fulfillment of a long-time goal, broke ground for their winery building in the spring of 1976. The first crush, approximately 190 tons, got underway in late September of that same year. The white wines were allowed limited skin contact and then cold fermented in jacketed stainless steel tanks to maximize fruitiness and varietal character. The red wines were fermented in open stainless steel tanks and allowed to "dry out" on the skins to maximize color and flavor extraction. Controlled fermentation with pure yeast strains is an important element of Preston's winemaking style. Barrel aging in Limousin, Alliers and Nevers (French) oak, adds a desirable degree of fullness and complexity to Preston's dry wines, while the semi-dry wines are aged and finished in stainless steel cooperage. Careful grape culture with a critical eye on crop levels and control of pests and diseases brings truly outstanding fruit in the Columbia Basin. Preston Wines have been rated among the finest in the world.

    Columbia Valley

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    A large and geographically diverse AVA responsible for a wide variety of wine styles, the Columbia Valley AVA is home to 99% of Washington State’s total vineyard area. A small section of the AVA extends into northern Oregon as well. Because of its vast size, it is necessarily divided into several distinctive sub-AVAs, including Walla Walla Valley and Yakima Valley—which is further split into three more even smaller AVAs. A region this size will of course have varied microclimates, but on the whole it experiences cold winters and long, dry growing seasons. Frost is a common risk during winter and spring. The towering Cascade mountain range creates a rain shadow, keeping the valley relatively rain-free throughout the year, necessitating irrigation from the Columbia River. The lack of humidity combined with sandy soils allows for vines to be grown on their own rootstock, as phylloxera is not a serious concern.

    Red wines make up the majority of production in the Columbia Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant variety here, where it produces wines with a pleasant balance of dark fruit and herbs. Wines made from Merlot are typically supple, with sweet red fruit and sometimes a hint of chocolate or mint. Syrah tends to be savory and Old-World-leaning, with a wide range of possible fruit flavors and plenty of spice. The most planted white varieties are Chardonnay and Riesling, the styles of which depend on the warmth of the site. Citrus and green apple are common to both in cooler sites, while warmer vineyards will produce riper, fleshier stone fruit flavors.

    Chardonnay

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    One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

    In the Glass

    When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.

    Perfect Pairings

    Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.

    Sommelier Secret

    Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.

    NOR150088_2002 Item# 57267