LIMITED PRODUCTION: 247 CASES PRODUCED.
91 POINTS - WINE ENTHUSIAST - August 2010 Issue
Released unusually at the age of nearly five years, this Chardonnay is losing its primary fruit. It's developing a toasted cashew and hazelnut character, and the pineapples are transmogrifying to chewy dried fruits and even Christmas fruit cake. Meanwhile the sweet, caramelized oak is fully integrated. Bravo to the winery for holding this back and letting us see what an older Sonoma Coast Chardonnay does. -SH
90 POINTS - CONNOISSEUR'S GUIDE
Slightly hazy in appearance and youthfully alive in its pulpy apple and pear aromas, this rich and fairly open wine holds little back in either nose or mouth. It is fleshy in feel with a viscous front end and a rounded finish that is lengthy, flavorful and layered. Bottle age is not required here, yet the wine's depth will hold it in good stead for a while.
2005 Chardonnay Reserve Fort Ross Vineyard Tech Sheet
Expansive aromas of perfumed peach blossoms, orange melon, apricot crumble and caramelized figs lure the senses, leading to a bounty of complex flavors built around white peaches, hints of citrus, delicately spiced hazelnuts with a touch of creamy oak. This golden hued wine has a seductively smooth texture that is perfectly balanced by the lively acidity and minerality characteristic of the vineyard. The inital silky roundess evolves seamlessly through the long, elegant finish. This well-integrated and finely-structured wine will continue to evolve for many years.
The grapes for this Reserve Chardonnay were handpicked in the cool early morning hours in small five-gallon buckets. The fruit was hand sorted in the vineyard and then whole cluster pressed at the winery. After pressing, the wine underwent primary and malolactic fermentation in a combination of 30% new and 70% used French oak barrels, the ratio of new to used oak carefully chosen so that the intensely concentrated and luscious fruit would not be masked by too much new oak. We selected the most distinctive barrels of Chardonnay and began the lengthy blending process by assessing if each additional barrel elevated the reserve blend and ultimately we delayed our bottling date as we felt that this blend needed more time in barrel to fulfill its great promise. The wine was racked and bottled without fining or filtration to maintain the natural color, flavor, texture and youthfulness of the wine. The final blend of this Reserve Chardonnay was selected from individual barrels chosen for their fruit concentration, complexity and balance. This wine is comprised of 100% small berried old Hyde field selection which has both richness and a sleek structure.
The challenging 2005 Vintage on the Sonoma Coast produced a very small yield but made wines of outstanding intensity. During an unusually warm February the buds swelled and produced leaves only to be subjected to harsh cold and rain. As we had not yet gone through bloom during this wintry weather, the early indications were for a bountiful crop within the norms of our very low vigor area. In June, just as the vines were in bloom and the berry set looked promising, there was un-seasonal rain that stopped many of the berries from developing, dramatically decreasing the crop. Like all the vineyards in the immediate area, our ultimate yield was about half a ton an acre but the wine produced was of exceptional quality, concentrated in flavor and color, thanks to the small clusters and diminutive berries that made it through the extended harvest, beginning in Mid-September and ending in October. This vintage can be summed up as: Quixotic weather small crop = small clusters tiny berries = fabulous wine!