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2012 Stefania Chardonnay Chaine d' Or Vineyard

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2012 Stefania Chardonnay, Chaine d'Or Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains
95* cases produced, alcohol 14.2%

Yields in the Chardonnay section of Chaine d'Or have become tiny. In tough years like 2011 there was not really even enough to pick. In 2012 many of the old plants had only 3-4 clusters on them. We did start a re-pruning and retraining program in 2012 that finally got us enough grapes to make a Chardonnay again. Hurray!

Just when you think nature is on your side though you'll get a curveball. 2012 was a great year and easy in most ways. After the run of hard vintages it was a breeze and yields and quality were good across the board. Then 'WHAM' a fence goes down and the deer get in. Stef and Paul had to perform an emergency repair on perimeter fencing which resulted in severe Poison Oak that would take 6 weeks to recover from completely. Paul’s doctor called it the worst case of Poison Oak she had ever seen. The vineyard was also protected with dryer sheets and a spraying of African Bird Pepper in an effort to break the deer routine and get them out of the vineyard.

That was the curve ball! On 9/30 we harvested just under 2 tons of grapes. Stef's family was visiting and assisted with harvest. We pressed whole clusters and transferred into a chilled tank for 24 hours settling. Brix at harvest was 23.5 with pH 3.42. On 10/1 the must was racked off of its gross lees an transferred to a chilled tank inside where temperature was monitored carefully and kept below 60 degrees while fermentation started on natural yeast. On 10/5 Brix had dropped to 15 and the wine was transferred to barrel to complete fermentation. Lees were stirred every two weeks during fermentation and MBR VP 31 Malo Starter was added on 10/30. In late January fermentation was still going slowly and yeast food was added and the barrels hauled out on sunny days to warm up a bit. By mid February Malo and Fermentation had finished. The wine was bottled in early July.

We're very happy with this Chardonnay. It's close to the '08 but with a bit more richness and fruit expression. We've opened a number of bottles now and it shows the classic citrus and pit fruit notes of good Burgundy. We went light on the new oak in 2012 and the natural crispness and acidity of the vineyard comes through. It's a very well balanced and rounded wine.

*Because of contractual commitments with the vineyard owners we have less than the 95 cases produced available.

Last edited on 12/20/2013 by AllRed

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