|NOTES FROM THE WINERY:
This is our second single-vineyard Chardonnay from Cuttings Wharf Ranch, one of our four estate vineyards in southern Napa Valley’s cool-climate Carneros region. At Cuttings Wharf, we cultivate six different, high-quality clones of Chardonnay, all planted in shallow Haire Loam soils. In 2012, we used three of these clones – Wente (20%), 124 (40%) and 96 (40%) – to craft a complex Chardonnay boasting bright, fragrant aromas and deeply concentrated flavors.
The 2012 vintage was outstanding, beginning with ideal spring weather during budbreak and flowering, which resulted in a perfectly even fruit set. Consistently mild, dry summer weather, with warm days, cool nights and few heat spikes, ripened our fruit slowly and evenly, yielding a healthy crop of grapes with an ideal balance of ripe, concentrated fruit flavors and lively acidity.
We hand-picked and night-harvested our Cuttings Wharf Chardonnay grapes to ensure they were picked cold and retained their fruit purity and bright natural acidity. At the winery, the fruit was whole-cluster-pressed in an anaerobic environment to further preserve freshness and purity. The free-run juice was transferred to 100% French oak barrels, 26% new, where 62% of the wine underwent a secondary, malolactic fermentation to soften and enrich its texture. It then aged for 15 months in barrel sur lie (on its primary yeast lees), with periodic stirring of the lees to further enhance texture and richness.