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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.

2002 Chardonnay
Sta. Rita Hills

2002 Chardonnay

Technical Details

100% Chardonnay

Vineyard Sources:
Mt. Carmel: 43%
Huber: 37%
Sweeney Canyon:20%

Production: 442 cases
Alcohol by volume: 14.7%
pH: 3.34
Titratable acidity: .65 g/100 ml.

In 2002 we continued our work with three of our long-standing vineyard sources for great Chardonnay grapes from the Santa Rita Hills viticultural region. The growing season was longer and cooler than normal with the earliest harvest date occurring at Sweeney Canyon and Sanford & Benedict vineyards on October 11th and extending to November 2nd and 5th at Huber and Mt. Carmel vineyards.

Crop levels were slightly lower than normal as were sugar levels at harvest, resulting in wines that have slightly less alcohol content than previous vintages. Needless to say, with well over 14% alcohol, this wine is still far from being a light bodied Chardonnay.

Grapes from each of these vineyards were handled separately but equally with each wine being barrel fermented in French oak barrels and aged for eleven months. We created trial blends over a period of three months and arrived at our final blend for this wine and also a Reserve style Chardonnay which will be released later in 2004. The entire Sanford & Benedict lot was set aside for the Reserve blend with small amounts of Mt. Carmel and Sweeney Canyon wines also used. The balance of these wines were used for this blend and bottled in late August 2003.

A floral, spicy aroma with hints of spiced applesauce and hazelnuts announces the wine. On the palate, grapefruit-like flavors are just starting to emerge against the sharpness of crisp acidity. The lingering finish of fruit and a hint of toasted oak is enticing. Presently, there is a degree of leanness which will develop into richer, rounder fruit flavors and texture with six to eight months of additional bottle aging. The wine will continue to develop complexity and texture with an additional four to six years of cellaring. Enjoy with shellfish, ciopinno and sea bass dishes.

Rick Longoria


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