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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.

2003 Chardonnay
Sta. Rita Hills

2003 Chardonnay

Technical Details

100% Chardonnay

Vineyard Sources:
Sanford & Benedict Vineyard: 50%
Sweeney Canyon Vineyard: 50%

Production: 353 Cases cases

We are pleased to release our 2003 Chardonnay produced entirely from grapes grown within the Santa Rita Hills viticultural appellation. For nearly twenty years I have been sourcing Chardonnay grapes from this area. I was always very pleased with the complexity and depth of the wines I produced from these grapes, so much so that beginning in 1993, I decided to use only Santa Rita Hills grapes to produce my Chardonnays.

Our 2003 wine is a blend of grapes grown at the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard and the Sweeney Canyon Vineyard. Both of these vineyards are some of the oldest Chardonnay plantings in the area and both are located within the Santa Rosa Road corridor in the southern part of the Santa Rita Hills area.

The juice was gently pressed from the grapes and allowed to settle the sediment in a stainless steel tank before being racked to French oak barrels to begin the fermentation. After finishing fermentation the barrels were topped off, and the natural yeast sediment was stirred every two weeks for the first four months. The wines aged in barrel until August of 2004, at which time the wines were racked and blended and prepared for bottling.

The wine has the aromas of tropical fruit with hints of coconut milk and crème brulee. On the palate the wine has a rich creamy, oily texture followed by a long, crisp finish. The finish also has a slight toasty flavor. The wine displays a layered complexity which is the hallmark of superior Chardonnays.

Both of these lots were of such excellent quality that it became very difficult to select one over the other to create our Cuvee Diana blend as we did in 2002. Unable to create a blend that stood out as superior to the Santa Rita Hills blend, we decided not to bottle a Cuvee Diana from this outstanding vintage.

This wine will benefit from an additional three to five years of bottle aging after release. Serve with grilled seafood, and rich creamy soups.


Rick Longoria, Winemaker
January 15, 2005

(Laboratory data is not available at this time.) 


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