From our mountain vineyard that overlooks the Sonoma Coast in the Fort Ross-Seaview American Viticultural Area, Fort Ross Vineyard & Winery produces limited quantities of single vineyard, Estate grown, cool-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinotage. With spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean less than one mile away, the vineyard is divided into 32 separate blocks, one-half to two acres in size, that range in elevation from 1700 down to 1200 feet above sea level. Owners, Lester and Linda Schwartz with their small crew began preparing the 52 acre vineyard in 1994. It took them 4 years of preparation before they could begin planting. The year 2000 marked the first vintage from the Fort Ross Vineyard.
Our 2020 Mother of Pearl Chardonnay speaks in voluminous layers of the high elevation blocks from where the grapes were grown. The slight haze in the golden hue is evidence of subtle stirring of the lees and bottling without fining or filtration. Lemon tart, Key lime and subtle white peach aromas are backed by noticeable rocky undertones and a hint of salinity. While possessing unquestionable weight and concentration, this wine teases the palate with flavors of crème brûlée and poached pear adding richness, while a chalky, flinty mid palate creates a complex, multidimensional experience. As if a signature from the windswept and fog laden vineyard itself, this Chardonnay finishes with lively, fresh acidity and a mineral driven backbone suggesting a long life ahead.
The 2020 growing season on the coast welcomed normal rainfall levels for the first several months of the year, filling the reservoir and hydrating vineyard soils. A mild spring, with no frosts concerns brought an average-sized crop level. The summer enjoyed steady, mild 80-85° temperatures, allowing the grapes to develop ideal complexity and flavors. A warm August allowed harvest to begin on the earlier side, creating wines with freshness, acidity, beautiful fruit and concentration.
Clone: Hyde Field Selection, Unfined & Unfiltered
Mother of Pearl, with its captivating, lustrous iridescent facets, inspired the naming of this Chardonnay made from grapes grown on the highest Fort Ross Vineyard Chardonnay blocks. These grapes were handpicked during the cool hours of the night in small two-gallon picking trays then hand sorted in the vineyard and gently whole cluster pressed at the winery. After pressing, the juice was put into barrels and underwent primary and malolactic fermentation in a combination of 25% new and 75% neutral French oak. This wine is comprised of 100% small berried old Hyde field selection chosen for its richness with a sleek structure. This heritage field selection has full, complex flavors that are intensified by the small size of both the bunches and the berries.
165 cases produced