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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
Rita's Crown Vineyard - Sta. Rita Hills

2012 Chardonnay

Technical Details

100% Chardonnay

Vineyard Sources:
100% Rita's Crown

Production: 76 cases
Alcohol by volume: 13.1%
pH: 3.15
Titratable acidity: 0.68 g/100ml
Cellaring potential: Four to six years
Bottle price: $50

This is the second vintage of Chardonnay from grapes grown exclusively at Rita's Crown Vineyard. Located just a mile east of our vineyard, Rita's Crown is a steep, south-facing slope with rocky clay loam soil. The grapes produce an elegant Chardonnay with higher acidity and lower alcohol that resemble the structure of a Burgundian wine. This block is planted to clone 96 of Chardonnay.

The grapes were harvested on September 8th with a sugar content of 21.5 Brix and very high acidity. They were whole cluster pressed and the juice settled for 24 hours before being transferred to barrels for fermentation. The barrels were then topped off and the wines began a thirteen month aging period. Using the "sur lie" technique, we stirred the lees at the bottom of the barrels once every two weeks for the first four months to promote a richer mouth feel to the wine. The new oak component is 26%, and 26% of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation. The wine was bottled in mid-December 2013.

The wine has a medium gold color and aromas of fruit with an emphasis on the secondary aromas of caramel and butterscotch. On the palate the wine is light to medium bodied with flavors similar to what the aromas hint at. The high acidity comes through quickly and provides a crisp, long finish. With a year or more of additional bottle aging the caramel and butterscotch flavors will begin to develop in the finish.

Enjoy this wine with shellfish and rich seafood such as lobster and scallops.

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