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My winemaking philosophy which I developed early on in my career is based on the concept that wine is a natural food. As such, the ultimate enjoyment of wine is as a graceful and harmonious accompaniment to a meal, whether it be simple or sublime.

While most of my wines are enjoyable by themselves, it is with food that they really shine, and reveal all of their nuances and textures. To me the best wines have the ability to bring out the best in the food they are paired with and conversely the food brings out the best in the wines.

2011 Chardonnay - Cuvée Diana
Sta. Rita Hills

2011 Chardonnay - Cuvée Diana

Technical Details

100% Chardonnay

Vineyard Sources:
Rita's Crown Vineyard - 57%
Rancho Santa Rosa Vineyard - 28%
Fe Ciega Vineyard - 10%
Zotovich Vineyard - 5%

Production: 116 cases
Alcohol by volume: 13.7%
pH: 3.07
Titratable acidity: 0.79 g/100ml
Cellaring potential: Four to seven years
Bottle price: $40

It's always a pleasure to release our top blend of Chardonnay named after my wife, Diana. All of the lots were harvested, fermented and aged separately. After months of tasting trial blends, I chose one that exemplified all the elements that go into a world class Chardonnay. Those elements are; fragrant varietally correct aromas, rich dense texture and flavors, seamless integrated oak flavors, and a high acidity level.

Due to the cool fall, the majority of the grapes were harvested during the last week in September. Sugar levels averaged 23.0 Brix. Each lot was whole cluster pressed, settled for a day, and then racked to small tanks to begin fermentation. After a few days the juice was transferred to French oak barrels to continue fermentation. After fermentation was completed, the barrels were topped off, and the wine began its barrel aging. The wine was stirred every two weeks for the first three months. This process infuses the wine with the yeast, which gives the wine a fuller mouth feel. After 13 months of barrel aging the various wines were blended and prepared for bottling, which occurred in mid-December.

The wine has a brilliant, golden straw color. The aromas are a complex mix of butter, custard, nutmeg and pears. On the palate, the wine has a rich texture with flavors of poached pears and crème anglaise with hints of oak vanillin. The wine's high acidity cuts into the flavor fairly quickly leaving a clean, mineral like sensation on the palate. This is a lean, classic Burgundian-style Chardonnay that would benefit from at least six months of cellaring, although it can be enjoyed immediately.

Serve with seafood pastas, and rich seafood like lobster and scallops.

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