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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 - Cuvée Diana
Sta. Rita Hills

2002 Chardonnay - Cuvée Diana

Technical Details

100% Chardonnay

Vineyard Sources:
Sanford & Benedict - 84%
Mt. Carmel - 10%
Sweeney Canyon - 6%

Production: 85 cases
Alcohol by volume: 15.5%
pH: 3.26
Titratable acidity: .73 g/100 ml.

Beginning with the 2002 vintage I have decided to eliminate the bottling of vineyard designated Chardonnays and instead create a reserve style Chardonnay blend, based on my own personal concept of what a great Chardonnay should be like. It is definitely not made to cater to the current critic’s preference for big, over-oaked, ponderous, slightly sweet Chardonnays which they award the big points to. I would be pleased if this wine were mistaken for the more elegant, austere, well structured style of a great white Burgundy.

In keeping with the personal nature of this wine, I was inspired to pay tribute to my beautiful wife and partner, Diana. Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting Diana and getting to know her can attest to her warm, gracious and sparkling personality. She is also one of the smartest and most organized persons I’ve ever encountered, and needless to say she is the backbone of our wine business. Her talents go further, a short list would have to include being a great cook, a great gardener, and foremost of all, a great mother to our two children. I am indeed one very lucky guy and it’s a pleasure for me to pay tribute to such an extraordinary person in my life.

In 2002 the standout lot came from Sanford & Benedict Vineyard. In an effort to make an excellent wine even better I performed tasting trials with smaller amounts of wine from Mt. Carmel and Sweeney and arrived at the blend that I believed was greater than the sum of its’ parts.

All the wines were 100% barrel fermented in all French oak barrels, one third of which were new. Barrel aging was done “sur lies” for twelve months after which we racked and blended the cuvee for this wine and let it age for an additional three months.

The cuvee represents wines that completed only 50% of the malo-lactic fermentation, leaving a higher acid content in the wine than is normally found in California Chardonnay.

The wine has floral, spicy, apple and straw aromas. On the palate the wine is rich, round and viscous with flavors of pears and roasted nuts. The wine also has a mineral quality accented by oak vanillin undertones. As with many Chardonnays from the cool Santa Rita Hills region, the wine has above average acidity, giving it a long crisp finish.

This wine will benefit from three to five years of additional bottling aging. Serve with grilled scampi, and most fish, such as halibut prepared with white wine sauce.

Rick Longoria, Winemaker
September 1, 2004


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