This is Cakebread Cellers' first Chardonnay from Anderson Valley, a small, world-class growing region near the Mendocino Coast. Beginning with the 2004 harvest, we will produce Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from our 48-acre Anderson Valley estate vineyard, which was planted in 2000.
The topsy-turvy 2003 growing season began with an unusually warm March followed by cold, rainy weather in April, which set back vine development and reduced yields on early ripening varieties like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot. Fortunately, the weather turned picture-perfect once summer arrived, with an ideal balance of cool mornings and warm afternoons, no rainfall, and a few well-timed heat spikes in September that accelerated ripening. These conditions enabled the grapes to retain their natural acidity while attaining full physiological maturity.
This wine was produced from a beautiful vineyard near Boonville, in the southeastern end of Mendocino's cool-climate Anderson Valley. While the site experiences the cool, foggy mornings typical of the region, it enjoys warmer afternoons than the valley vineyards nearer the ocean, allowing for a rich, full style of Chardonnay. The vineyard also boasts three distinctive, high-quality Chardonnay clones, which enhance the wine's complexity. In 2003, the grapes were harvested between September 25th and 29th at optimal ripeness.
After harvesting, the fruit was whole cluster pressed, and the juice settled and transferred to barrels for fermentation. In a new wrinkle for Cakebread, the juice was not inoculated with a cultured yeast, but allowed to ferment with its own native yeasts. This type of fermentation enhances a wine's complexity and expression of terroir (the singular personality of a site, reflecting the interplay of its soil, climate, sun exposure, etc.). Once fermentation completed, the wine was aged an additional nine months sur lie (on the yeast lees) in French oak, 70% new, with monthly stirring of the lees to add richness. Only 311 cases of this wine were produced, although there will be more of the 2004 estate bottling, to be released in September 2005.
Our 2003 Anderson Valley Chardonnay offers a lovely, fresh aroma of ripe apple and pear fruit enhanced by scents of honeysuckle, baked bread, and cinnamon/nutmeg spice. On the palate, creamy, slightly spicy, apple and pear flavors are beautifully balanced by a refreshing underlying acidity, giving the wine a bright, lively feel despite its evident depth and richness. Delicious now, this classic, cool-climate Chardonnay will develop additional bouquet and complexity with 18-24 months of additional bottle age.
Alcoholic Content: 14.1%
Total Acidity: 0.64g/100ml