Our 2004 Chardonnay entices with generous aromas of kaffir lime, lemon curd and fragrant honeysuckle framed by hazelnut and a gentle hint of oak. The complex palate of full and succulent Chardonnay fruit flavors are buttressed by a savory citrus acidity and the cool coastal vineyards’ signature minerality. The focused finish expresses fine symmetry with an echo of the light oak in addition to a dash of clove spice that carries through the elegantly smooth finale.
90 POINTS: WINE SPECTATOR
Smoky marshmellow, fig and toasty oak aromas give this a big initial impression. Yet for all of its size and richness this holds together nicely, finishing with a rich aftertste of fruit and wood. Drink now through 2011. —J.L.
91 POINTS: CONNOISSEURS' GUIDE
Ripe and well-extracted with a strong sense of ripe apples as a counterpoint to its plentiful oak, this fleshy, yet firmly structured youngster shows fine continuity in the mouth and excellent length at the finish. It has a trace of eleventh-hour angularity to lose yet, but this is a Chardonnay that can take a bit of age, and a year or two of cellar time seen certain to bring it into near-classic form.
FOOD & WINE
BEST NEW CALIFORNIA CHARDONNAYS, BEST 18 BOTTLES, Ray Isle
A string of tiny vineyard parcels only a mile from the ocean—and anywhere from 1,200 to 1,700 feet above it—produced this vivid white. Its intense pear fruit gains complexity from hints of hazelnut and smoky lees.
2004 Chardonnay Tech Sheet
Our 2004 Chardonnay reflects a more Burgundian sensibility with generous aromas of kaffir lime, lemon curd and fragrant honeysuckle framed by hazelnut and gentle hint of oak. The complex palate of full succulent Chardonnay fruit flavors are buttressed by a savory citrus acidity and the cool coastal vineyard's signature minerality. The focused finish expresses fine symmetry with an echo of the light oak in addition to a dash of clove spice that carries through the elegantly smooth finale.
The grapes for this Chardonnay were handpicked in the cool early morning hours in small five-gallon buckets. Once at the winery, the fruit was hand sorted and then whole cluster pressed. After pressing, the wine underwent barrel and malolactic fermentation in a combination of new and 1 year used French oak. Once the final blend was determined, the wine was racked and bottled without fining or filtration to maintain the natural flavor, texture and youthfulness of the wine. This wine is comprised of 70% small berried old Hyde field selection for its richness and sleek structure and 30% old Wente, which is fruity and graceful.
After a very early budbreak and warm weather that accelerated vine development it looked as if we would have a bountiful crop, however the weather turned cold during bloom and there was a very light berry set. Some blocks ultimately produced only a half a ton per acre. The climate was then moderate for most of the growing season but during August and early September there was a period of unusually hot and dry weather. Being so near to the ocean we were able to wait for the desired level of ripeness and fortunately the weather cooled off. The vineyard's marine-moderated climate allowed the grapes to ripen slowly and fully into mid-late September when we harvested small berries with complete flavor development and lively acidity.