This is our second vintage of Chardonnay from Anderson Valley, a small jewel of an appellation that follows the Navarro River as it drains into the Pacific Ocean at Albion on the Mendocino Coast. One of California's coolest wine regions, it provides an ideal environment for the production of world-class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Due to a warm late winter, mild spring and summer temperatures, and several late-summer heat spells, the 2004 harvest in California was among the earliest on record. The early start to the growing season, coupled with a lighter-than-average crop, produced grape clusters with small berries and ripe flavors, yielding wines of impressive depth, concentration and structure.
The fruit for our 2004 Alexander Valley Chardonnay came from two vineyards near Booneville in the warmer southeastern end of the valley: our estate vineyard, which includes 17 acres of Chardonnay, and the adjacent Ferrington Vineyard. During summer, these sites enjoy a warm, dry, mid-day climate bracketed by morning and evening fog with cool ocean breezes - ideal conditions for the slow ripening of grapes and the development of full, rich Chardonnay flavors. An array of distinctive, high-quality Chardonnay clones in our estate vineyard further enhances the wine's complexity. In 2004, the grapes were harvested between September 5th and 15th with a perfect balance of ripe fruit flavors and bright acidity.
After harvesting, the fruit was whole-cluster-pressed, and the juice settled and transferred to barrels for fermentation. While 60% of the juice was inoculated with a cultured yeast to initiate fermentation, 40% was allowed to ferment with native yeasts, which promote greater complexity and expression of terroir (the singular personality of a site). After fermentation completed - there was no malolactic fermentation - the wine aged ten months sur lie (on the yeast lees) in French oak barrels, with monthly stirring of the lees to add richness. It was bottled in July 2005.
Our 2004 Anderson Valley Chardonnay exhibits the appellation's classic characteristics: lovely sweet apple and jasmine aromas, a supple, medium-weight texture and beautifully complex flavors of Fuji apple, melon and citrus with yeasty, biscuit-y nuances. The finish is fresh, crisp and citrus-y, giving the wine a bright, vibrant tone to balance its impressive depth and richness. Delicious to drink now, this wonderful, cool-climate Chardonnay will develop additional complexity with another 3-5 years of bottle age.
Alcoholic Content: 14.1%
Total Acidity: 0.60g/100ml