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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.

2001 Chardonnay
Mt. Carmel Vineyard - Sta. Rita Hills

2001 Chardonnay

Technical Details

100% Chardonnay

Vineyard Sources:
Mt. Carmel Vineyard

Production: 188 cases
Alcohol by volume: 14.9%
pH: 3.38
Titratable acidity: .67 g/100 ml.

The 2001 Chardonnay from Mt. Carmel Vineyard marks our third vintage bottling from this highly regarded source of great Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Located on a sloping mesa overlooking the Santa Ynez River, the vineyard is in the midst of other great Santa Rita Hills vineyards, including our own estate Fe Ciega, Sea Smoke, Sanford & Benedict, Fiddlestix and La Rinconada.

Our winery, along with Brewer-Clifton and Au Bon Climat form the small exclusive group producing Chardonnay from this vineyard.

The grapes were harvested on October 17, 2001, with a sugar level of 24.5. The grapes were whole cluster pressed, the juice settled and then transferred to French oak barrels for fermentation. The wine aged in French oak barrels, one third of which were new, for twelve months. The wine was blended, fined and filtered before being bottled on September 14, 2002.

This vintage has the typical deep golden color that previous Mt. Carmel bottlings have displayed. The aromas can be described as hazelnuts, butter, oak vanillin, with hints of juniper. On the palate the wine has a medium body, with creamy, rich flavors of butterscotch, hazelnut and pralines. The finish is long and ends with a satisfying sweet note. The wine also has the characteristic mineral quality which is part of the Mt. Carmel identity.

This wine will develop for another two to three years with careful cellaring. It is an excellent example of the melding of great California Chardonnay grapes with Burgundian winemaking techniques. Serve with lobster ravioli with white wine cream sauce, or a variety of seafood.

Rick Longoria
Release date: November 1, 2003


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