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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
Rita's Crown Vineyard - Sta. Rita Hills

2011 Chardonnay

Technical Details

100% Chardonnay

Vineyard Sources:
100% Rita's Crown Vineyard

Production: 47 cases
Alcohol by volume: 13.6
pH: 3.07
Titratable acidity: 0.75 g/100ml
Cellaring potential: Three to five years
Bottle price: $55

I'm very pleased and excited to release our first bottling of Chardonnay from Rita's Crown Vineyard. This young vineyard is planted immediately above Mt. Carmel Vineyard, from which I made outstanding Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the 1990s and early 2000s. The grapes come from a steep 1.5 acre south facing site planted to the Dijon 96 clone. The grapes were harvested on September 15th, with a sugar level of 23.2 Brix. The whole clusters were pressed and the juice settled for 24 hours before being transferred to French oak barrels for the fermentation. Approximately 12 days later fermentation was complete and the barrels were topped off. The wine aged in French oak barrels, of which 30% were new, for one year before being bottled in December 2012.

The wine has a medium gold color. The aromas are a complex array of peaches, pears with a hint of caramel, coconut and marzipan. On the palate the wine has a very rich oily texture and expansive flavors of butter and candied grapefruit. It has light tannins and excellent acidity, which provides for a very long finish.

Despite the vines' youth, this first vintage has produced an incredibly complex wine, where the intense flavors, oak and high acidity are harmoniously intermingled. I am excited about this unique vineyard site’s potential and I look forward to future vintages.

Serve with rich seafood such as lobster, trout and swordfish. It will also accompany mushroom pasta with roasted pine nuts.

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