The Russian River Valley Chardonnay begins with gorgeous fragrances of citrus peel, fennel seed, and mango. On the palate, the citrus and tropical notes dance a perfect waltz, with restrained hints of toasty oak creating a Chardonnay of great balance, weight and length.
All grapes went direct to press as whole clusters. By pressing gently as whole clusters, we were able to preserve the bright, delicate characteristics that we prize. After settling, the juice was racked into French oak barrels for fermentation to give the wine just a hint of toast and spice. We used 22% new oak and 24% one-year-old oak (with the remainder being neutral) in order to allow the richness of the fruit to take center stage. Once primary fermentation was complete, the wine went through secondary malo-lactic fermentation. The barrel-fermented wine lots were aged on the lees for nine months, with occasional stirring to increase richness and body. The final blend was assembled just prior to bottling, which occurred on August 11, 2020.
2019 brought a moderately cool growing season. We harvested the Chardonnay for this wine from the middle to the end of September. This diversity in terms of harvest dates adds another element of complexity and intrigue to the blend.
The grapes for this wine came from three exceptional vineyards in the famed Russian River Valley appellation, with each of these beautiful sites bringing something unique and appealing to the blend. The vineyards include the Dutton family’s Braughton and Shop Vineyards, and Matthew’s Station Vineyard. Braughton Vineyard is located just east of Green Valley, so it has slightly warmer grower conditions that produce a rich and fruitful expression on the nose. The Shop Vineyard is planted to the Wente selection, which delivers small berries and clusters with intriguing floral aromatics. Located in the Santa Rosa Plains area of Russian River Valley, Matthew’s Station ripens slowly, adding structure and balance to the palate. Each of these vineyards supplies a different clone of the Chardonnay grape, which further enhances the flavorful mosaic that is the 2019 Russian River Valley Chardonnay.