|In 1965, our founder Rod Strong was the first to plant chardonnay in what would later be recognized as the Chalk Hill American Viticultural Area (AVA), established officially in 1983. He recognized the region as distinct from the rest of Russian River Valley for its unique chalky white soils, which impart a subtle mineral character to wines grown there.
For the third year in a row, the 2009 vintage started off with a dry spring, which typically pruduces smaller clusters, smaller berries, and less canopy overall. Spring was mild enough to ward off frost this year and vies affected from the previous year seemed to rebound. The main growing season was cool to warm and without incident. Picking commenced on September 9th, and all of our Chalk Hill chardonnay was harvested by the end of the month.
Barrel fermentation in new and seasoned French oak added toasty vanilla and spice complexities, and during 10 months of barrel aging, we regularly stirred the "lees" in barrel, which gives a certain fullness and creamy texture on the palate. Encouraging malolactic fermentation added additional character, and in the glass the wine is both creamy and crisp, with abundant fruit character, mineral, and toasty oak flavors. Enjoy over the next 1-3 years.