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Tasting notes: Flinty lemon, Asian pear, white peach, white tea, baked biscuit, and clove.
2018 was the sixth vintage in a row defined by heat in the Willamette Valley. Following a wet winter, the spring and summer were very dry and warm, leading to the first signs of veraison in early August. Fortunately our reliable marine winds kept night-time temperatures cool, preserving acidity in the fruit as it ripened, and welcome rain events in September carried the vines through the final ripening period. The very dry hot summer made for small clusters with very small berries that in many ways defined our 2018 wines.
“Not since 2008 have we seen wines with the early exuberance of fruit that one expects from a warm vintage, combined with such a lean muscular structure promising significant ageability.” - Ben Casteel
For our Estate Chardonnay we make our picking decisions with tension and vibrancy favored over opulence and richness, as we believe this gives us the best expression of our sense of place. This wine will benefit from cellaring for at least three years and/or decanting a few hours ahead of time.
The grapes were whole cluster pressed at low pressure for four hours then settled at 45 ℉ for three days. The juice was then racked to barrels of varying sizes (228L, 350L, and 500L) and fermented for 35-40 days with minimal battonage (lees stirring). The new wine went through full malolactic fermentation and was aged on the lees for 9 months prior to bottling.
This has attractively flinty lemons, pears and white peaches with hints of freshly baked biscuit and spicy oak. The palate has a very juicy, lemon-juice and lemon-pastry core with bright acidity and a smoothly layered finish. Drink now.