2017 FORAGER Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast
A rich and complex Chardonnay comes from grown on the chilly Sonoma Coast, a terrific spot for exemplary cool-climate Chardonnay.
• FORAGER Chardonnay illustrates that experienced and careful selection, blending and maturation of Chardonnay lots grown in diverse Sonoma Coast locations can deliver delicious flavor and interest. The sum is greater than the parts.
• Excellent low yielding sites, classic winemaking techniques and careful maturation in top new French oak capture the typicity of these sites - and the purity of this noble variety.
We call our wine FORAGER to illustrate how growing, gathering & judiciously blending small lots of delicious Sonoma Coast Chardonnay can deliver serious flavor and interest.
The complexity and depth of our 2017 Chardonnay comes from two clonal selections grown on the chilly Sonoma Coast, a terrific spot for exemplary cool-climate Chardonnay. The first site, near Slusser Road, was planted over 15 years ago and is hand-pruned and hand-picked. The soils in these low yielding locations are clay loams, dusted with fossilized seashells. The second site is on the south-western-most edge of the AVA and soils tend to be more clay and sandstone.
In 2017 we had massive rainfall and a large canopy which needed to be knocked back a few times with diligent pruning and leafing. Clusters suffered from some heat stress and inconvenient weather patterns so yields were down almost 30%. The vintage will likely go down in the books as "very high quality - but smallish" along the Sonoma Coast, but luckily there were many very fine lots produced - just not enough of them.
Hand-harvested between September 2 and 7 at an average Brix of 24.8, the compact Chardonnay bunches were gently pressed. After settling, it was racked and fermentation began naturally and was completed with prevailing "native" yeasts. Fermentation and maturation took place in both barrel (70% (made up of 25% new French, 75% neutral French barrels)) and stainless steel tank (30%). Moderate fermentation temperatures (85°F) and a slow ferment helped develop aromatics. ML took place in the French barrels lots (70%) and was followed by ten months maturation with battonage every three weeks. This contributed nuanced spiciness and a creamy, almost saline-like mouth-feel.