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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.

2004 Chardonnay
Sta. Rita Hills

2004 Chardonnay

Technical Details

100% Chardonnay

Vineyard Sources:
Zotovich Family Vineyard - 64%
Sanford & Benedict Vineyard - 28%
Sweeney Canyon Vineyard - 8%

Production: 126 cases
Alcohol by volume: 15.7%
pH: 3.34
Titratable acidity: .62 g/100 ml.

For this 2004 bottling of our Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay, I purchased grapes from a new vineyard, Zotovich Family Vineyard, which is located just a mile or so east of Melville and Babcock vineyards. As this is a young vineyard, production did not exceed 1 ½ tons per acre, resulting in a very intense wine. I blended in some wine from our Sanford & Benedict Vineyard lot, and a very small amount from Sweeney Canyon Vineyard, to create a wonderfully complex Chardonnay.

The weather at harvest in 2004 was characterized by several lengthy heat waves in late August and early September. This heat ripened the grapes throughout the Santa Rita Hills area very quickly. In fact, we harvested Chardonnay grapes from all of the three vineyards in this blend on the same day, September 11th.

The wines were fermented separately in French oak barrels and allowed to age in the same barrels for eleven months. The Burgundian practice of stirring the sediment every other week for the first four months was followed. The wines were blended, fined and filtered and bottled in late August.

The wine has the aromas of poached pears covered with crème anglais, with hints of caramel and hazelnuts. On the palate the wine is medium to full-bodied with a rich, oily texture. The flavors are of pears with hints of butterscotch and butter on the finish. 

This wine would be best served very slightly chilled, and will peak within the next two years. Serve with scallops in white sauce, chicken, and fettuccine Alfredo, to name a few dishes.


Rick Longoria
February 1, 2006


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