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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.

2006 Chardonnay - Cuvée Diana
Sta. Rita Hills

2006 Chardonnay - Cuvée Diana

Technical Details

Composition:
100% Chardonnay

Vineyard Sources:
62% Sanford & Benedict Vineyard 38%
Sweeney Canyon Vineyard

Production: 170 cases
Alcohol by volume: 14.6%
pH: 3.27
Titratable acidity: 0.85 g/100m
Cellaring potential: three to four years
Bottle price: $40.00

For two reasons it is always a pleasure to release our finest blend of Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay. First, this cuvee demonstrates why we have focused on Chardonnay grapes exclusively from this viticultural appellation for almost twenty years. I believe that in the years to come Chardonnay from Santa Rita Hills will finally take its rightful place alongside its counterpart, Pinot Noir, equally affirming the world class stature of this area.

Secondly it gives me the opportunity to honor my wife, Diana, who continues to work tirelessly to make our business run as smoothly as possible.

This 2006 vintage of Cuvee Diana reflects the exceptionally long growing season we experienced. The grapes from Sanford & Benedict Vineyard were harvested just one day shy of November, while those from Sweeney Canyon Vineyard were harvested on October 22nd.

Both lots were whole-cluster pressed and the juice was transferred to French oak barrels for fermentation and aging. I reduced the new oak component to around 28% to further emphasize the great character of the grape and the vineyard sites on which they were grown. The wine was barrel aged three months longer than in past years before being blended and bottled in mid-December 2007.

At this early stage of its development the wine has subtle aromas of poached pears and brown spices with a hint of butterscotch. On the palate the wine is initially a bit closed-in, but after a few seconds the butterscotch flavors kick in with a burst of oily texture. It has a long, long finish that leaves a very satisfying taste and feel in the the mouth.

This, once again, is not your typical California Chardonnay, but a wine with finesse, elegance and complex flavors and texture. Enjoy this wine with white fish encrusted with pine nuts accompanied by beurre blanc sauce.

Rick Longoria, Winemaker
March, 2008

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