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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.

2012 Chardonnay
Sta. Rita Hills

2012 Chardonnay

Technical Details

100% Chardonnay

Vineyard Sources:
53% Zotovich Vineyard
20% Fe Ciega Vineyard
20% Rita's Crown Vineyard
7% Rancho Santa Rosa Vineyard

Production: 84 cases
Alcohol by volume: 12.7%
pH: 3.35
Titratable acidity: 0.64 g/100mL
Cellaring potential: Three to five years
Bottle price: $30

The 2012 harvest was once again a relatively cool vintage. The grapes from Zotovich, Fe Ciega and Rancho Santa Rosa were all harvested on either September 21st or 22nd at low to moderate sugar levels and were then pressed individually and fermented in French oak barrels. I chose to reduce the new oak component to just 15% to further emphasize the fruit aromas and flavors. After fermentation the barrels were topped off and the lees were stirred every two weeks for the first three months of barrel aging. After 13 months the lots were blended, fined and filtered just prior to bottling.

The wine has a brilliant, light straw-gold color with complex aromas of pears, pineapple and spiced apples. On the palate the wine is medium bodied, with rich flavors of pear and apple with a subtle aftertaste of brown sugar and custard. Because the grapes were picked at relatively low sugar levels, the natural acidity is quite high in this wine, giving it a lean flinty quality and a long satisfying finish.

Flavorful wine with lower alcohol is the hallmark of fine white European wines. We are pleased that our 2012 Chardonnay, Sta. Rita Hills is an excellent example of how superior grapes can produce wines in this difficult-to-achieve style.

Pair with oysters, shellfish, seared scallops or baked salmon with hollandaise sauce. It will also be excellent with turkey or chicken prepared with rich sauces.

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