Tuesday, November 30, 2010

2009 Stefania Chardonnay Chaine d'Or Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains

First in a series of three on our next release.............

Compared to the 2008 season, 2009 was an easy year in the vineyard. We continued our efforts in the winter to lower the spurs on the old Chardonnay vines and the effort was 90% complete with almost all the fruit now back in the lower wire fruiting zone. With our third year of drought we decided to give the vineyard three doses of water in 2009. First we had to undertake an extensive check and repair of the drip system after two seasons of non use. The water was run for 4-6 hours on each occasion, in an attempt to simulate a summer storm. A final dose of rain on September 13th also assisted the vines.

Chardonnay harvest at Chaine d’Or was small for the estate, but we think this will be typical for us with our strict pruning and thinning routine. We picked on the morning of September 27th, using a crew of friends and our regular group of Jerry’s friends and family who are quickly gaining a reputation in the area as the best harvest crew available. The crew is paid by the hour, rather than by the bin and thus is meticulous in sorting and selection in the field. Picking bins arrive free of leafs or debris of any kind and substandard grapes are never picked.

It took just 5 hours to bring in 68 bins from the upper section and 81 from the lower section. A total of 149 bins or 4470 pounds was harvested. That is an average yield of 2.2 tons / acre. The fruit was healthy, and showed excellent golden maturity. The grapes were destemmed and pressed at once in our stainless steel bladder press. Final numbers were Brix 26, TA .93 and pH 3.62. The juice was transferred to a stainless steel tank where it was chilled to 54 degrees for 24 hours to encourage the gross lees to fall out.

On 10/5 the Chardonnay was transferred to 4 new barrels and 4 used barrels to continue fermentation. Superfood was again added and the juice was inoculated with Malolactic starter. On 10/12 the Chardonnay was reduced to 7 barrels with one old barrel removed. On 10/23 the Brix had reached -1% in each barrel and it was condensed down to a final 5 barrels (3 new, one 2008, one old) and a Keg and Carboy. Lees were stirred every two weeks to enrich the wine.

On April 4th we began the process to cold stabilize the wine by transferring it to tank and chilling the tank to 35 degrees. Sulfur was added to protect the wine and the wine was racked clean from its lees. On May 1st the wine was filtered and transferred to a second tank for bottling. Bottling was in early May and we decided to hold the wine into 2011 before release to allow it ample time to recover from the bottling process.

Tasting Note: The wine has a pronounced nose of pear, peach and ripe Fuji apple. There is a hint of spice and vanilla from the new oak. We delayed picking on 2009 to bring out more of these mature stone fruit flavors. In the mouth the wine is rich, deep and broad with mouth coating density. The fruit flavors are sweet and long. The wine finishes with sweet pear and apple fruit. The 60% new oak is well blended and lifted by the wines racy acidity. This is a big racy wine that remains fresh and lifted by it's acidity.

123 Cases Produced.

Release: Spring of 2011

Release Price: $75 per 3 pack, $140 per six pack

A special note on our Chardonnay: This past summer Paul's mother lost her partner and companion of over 20 years William 'Bill' Jansen to Pulmonary Fibrosis. Bill came out often to help us work in the vineyards and support our efforts. Bill's favorite wine was our Chardonnay and we will donate $1 from every bottle sold in his name to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. http://www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org/


Sandeep A. said...

This was a fabulous wine when we tried it during the pick-up day in December.
Paul - What do you think about the aging-ability of this wine?

Paul Romero said...

We don't really know for sure. Jerry Anderson always preferred his Chardonnay young so he never kept any to age. I started keeping some with the 2005 vintage when I first went to work there.

Technically and chemically there is everything there needed to be to age a white wine. The pH is good, we added a fair amount of sulfur at bottling (50ppm) and the wine was stable at bottling.

I really think it will age gracefully and follow the path of a great Burgundy over time. Everything seems to be there in this wine, including super fruit flavors.