Sixty-five percent of the fruit for our third vintage of Chardonnay, Anderson Valley came from our estate vineyard near Booneville in the southeastern end of the valley, with the balance from the adjacent Ferrington Vineyard. One of California’s coolest and most lovely wine regions, Anderson Valley follows the Navarro River as it drains into the Pacific Ocean at Albion on the Mendocino Coast. With dry, temperate summer days bracketed by morning and evening fog and cool ocean breezes, it provides an ideal environment for the cultivation of world-class Chardonnay. Our array of nine distinctive, small-berried Chardonnay clones further enhances wine quality and complexity. In 2005, our Anderson Valley grapes were harvested between September 26th and October 1st with a superb balance of ripe fruit flavors and bright acidity.
The 2005 vintage may prove to be among California’s finest. Bud break was early due to warm late-winter weather, but the spring turned cool and rainy, with unseasonably cool temperatures persisting throughout summer, slowing the ripening process. Fortunately, Indian summer weather, with no rain or heat spells, arrived in September and prevailed throughout October, bringing the harvest to fruition in ideal conditions. Due to the length of the growing season, our Chardonnay, Anderson Valley grapes enjoyed an extended hang time and developed impressively concentrated flavors. The result is a beautifully balanced wine of great depth and richness.
After the grapes were hand-harvested at night to maximize their freshness, they were whole-cluster-pressed, and the juice settled and transferred to French oak barrels, 29% new, for fermentation. While 88% of the juice was inoculated with a cultured yeast, 12% was allowed to ferment with native yeasts, which promote enhanced complexity and expression of terroir (the singular personality of a site). After fermentation completed, 22% of the lots underwent malolactic fermentation to enhance texture and richness, while 100% aged for nine months sur lie (on the yeast lees) in barrel, with monthly stirring for additional richness. After blending, the wine was bottled in July, 2006.
Our 2005 Chardonnay, Anderson Valley exudes creamy apple and spiced pear aromas with citrus undertones and intriguing baking spice scents of clove and nutmeg. On the palate, the wine boasts a full, rich texture and lush, baked apple flavors, which are framed by spicy, savory oak tones. Rich, long and beautifully balanced, this delicious, cool-climate Chardonnay will develop additional complexity with another 18-24 months of bottle age.