The 2011 Estate Carneros Chardonnay reveals Carneros for what it is – one of the preeminent cool-climate regions for Chardonnay in California, if not the world. The 2011 vintage benefited from a longer season and extra time on the vine, allowing it to develop flavors to complement its naturally crisp acidity and bright fruit characters.
Our 2011 Chardonnay consists entirely of grapes from our 335-acre estate vineyard, where numerous Chardonnay clones and selections grown in a variety of soil types contribute balance and great complexity to the wine. Its meager soils and cool, breezy climate give Carneros a well-earned reputation for producing Chardonnay with beautiful fruit expression and ample natural acidity.
This wine is well focused with a lovely integration of vibrant peach and pear aromas, seductive vanilla and bright acidity. On the palate, it is rich and creamy with flavors of granny smith apples, lemon peel and butterscotch that fold together nicely in a lingering finish.
Vintage 2011 gave us the smallest yields in the history of our vineyards. A long cool growing season delayed harvest by two weeks. The additional hang time created concentrated Chardonnay grapes, with crisp bright flavors and firm acidities. Harvest occurred in early October, just before the first fall rain. The grape clusters were clean and slightly amber in color, touched by the cool Carneros sunlight.
• Whole-cluster pressing to minimize extraction of bitter compounds
• 100% barrel-fermented
• Battonage (stirring the lees in barrel) performed every four weeks for six months to contribute textural richness
• Aged in 100% French Oak barrels for 9 months
• 50% of the wine completed malolactic fermentation