2017 FORAGER Chardonnay, Willamette Valley
- FORAGER Chardonnay illustrates that careful, experienced selection, blending and maturation of Chardonnay lots grown in LIVE CERTIFIED sites in the Willamette Valley can deliver delicious flavor and interest.
- Excellent low-yielding sites, classic low-impact Burgundian winemaking techniques and careful maturation in neutral French oak barrels capture the typicity of this area - and the purity of this noble grape 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 of our 2017 Chardonnay comes from two clones grown in the central Willamette Valley, 10 miles south of Salem and two miles east of the Willamette River. The red soils in these two sites range are Jory-based and about 600 feet in elevation. The two sites are carefully cultivated, LIVE CERTIFIED and planted to clones 76 and 96 on a hilly west-to-southwest facing slope of a volcanic flow. They were hand-pruned, hand-thinned and hand-picked.
Hand-harvested on October 5 at 22 Brix, these compact Chardonnay bunches were gently whole cluster pressed. Fermentation began naturally and was completed with a neutral yeast so to better express the vineyards characteristics. Limited SO2 was used and the wine was left on its gross lees (“dirty”) for the entire aging process - but without any lees stirring. This technique builds mouthfeel and creamy texture. Very cool fermentation temperatures (~60°F) helped build aromatic complexity and structure. ML took place in 40% of the barrels followed by nine months maturation (no racking) which contributed nuanced citrus notes. Neutral French oak was used for 100% of the blend. We call our wine FORAGER to illustrate how growing, gathering & judiciously blending small lots of delicious Chardonnay can deliver tremendous flavor and interest.
In 2017 the Willamette Valley had a near perfect growing season. The winter and early spring were wet and cold and cool weather persisted into June, delaying flowering and set. But ultimately set was healthy and the summer weather patterns normal. The sites were thinned after veraison to promote quality and uniform ripening.