2017 Estate Chardonnay
The Vintage: 2017 enjoyed another wet winter, followed by intermittent rains during a long, cool spring. The vines produced a good quality bloom and fruit set, followed by a long growing season and a healthy harvest in early September. Still, the yields in 2017 were below average, as they were throughout the region. This was even more-so for Wenzlau Vineyard, with some blocks dormant, as we continued with re-planting of the vineyard using more disease resistant rootstock. The 2017 berries were plump and flavorful. The long, cool growing season produced an expressiveness in the juice that is compelling. The wine is bright and elegant. The climate and rugged topography of our site conveys in the wine all the attributes so special and unique to this place; power and structure balanced balanced with minerality, citrus notes with a hint of salinity, all framed with a strong sense of the nearby ocean.
Production: 90 cases 12.8% alc.
AVA: Sta. Rita Hills
The site: Organically farmed on the cool climate on the banks of the Santa Ynez River, the vines get covered by a wet blanket of fog each night which allows the grapes to ripen slowly, keeping a backbone of acidity to balance the wine's citrus and floral notes. The vines slip through rocky, silty soil, which gives a foundation of minerality along with layers of floral, honey and stone-fruit all balanced by citrus notes and a hint of the coastal fog.
Tasting Notes: Coming from multiple blocks planted on Sorrento loam soils with varying degrees of shale, river cobble, silty clay and limestone, the 2017 is a really fine expression of all that the Santa Rita Hills can offer. The 2017 Chardonnay is mouth-wateringly delicious. It shows strong structure and power balanced with a distinct brightness from citrus notes and a hint of salinity from the nearby ocean, giving it complexity while staying fresh on the palate.
Winemaking: The grapes were harvested in the wee morning hours, hand sorted and pressed whole cluster to a stainless steel tank with very low amounts of SO2 where the juice settled for 24 hours. The juice was then racked to barrel where it fermented and rested on the lees for 12 months in mostly neutral French barrels and went through full malo. It was then racked to stainless steel tank for an additional 6 months prior to bottling in February 2019. There is about 15% new French oak in the finished wine. There was no acidification or chaptalization.
2017 Estate Chardonnay
The 2017 Chardonnay shows the breadth and phenolic intensity that is such a signature of wines from this site, and does so while staying light on its feet. Orchard fruit, citrus peel and a range of more savory inflections all develop in this super-expressive Chardonnay from Wenzlau.
93 points. Ideal Drinking Window: 2020-2025
-- Antonio Galloni