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2017 Estate Star Chardonnay

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2017 Estate Star Chardonnay

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As many of you know, we are serious fans of Chardonnay grown in the Sta. Rita Hills and from France’s Burgundy. Our region here on the western edges of Santa Barbara County is unlike anywhere in California and continues to astound us with such high quality and complete Chardonnays. Fundamentally, the Sta. Rita Hills is in a Goldilocks location for growing world class Chardonnay in California. Because our mountains run east-west directly into the Pacific Ocean, this unusual geologic formation creates a natural funneling of cold wind. Combine these winds with our bright and sunny climate and you create "refrigerated sunlight", a perfect balance between sun and cold nightly diurnal temperatures every day throughout the growing season.

A pale lemon color with pronounced but smooth aromas of shale, ocean air, chalk, salted caramel, brioche, light roast coffee, vanilla, and fresh meringue with notes of white blossoms and walnuts. On the palate it is full-bodied and smooth with a long finish and an impressive mouth feel. Fruit flavors of golden kiwi, kumquat, gooseberry, roasted pineapple and lime pith blend with the greener flavors of kaffir and coriander.
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Vineyard

For our first Star Series wine we easily went to one of our favorite blocks: the north-facing massale planting of Chardonnay that sits at the highest point in our vineyard. Not only is the wind pressure extreme because of its open exposure to the elements, but it is also where we have a unique mixture of clay and calcareous soils. These rocky soils create a more hostile environment for Chardonnay to thrive so that resulting fruit carries more concentration, salinity and verve. The varied and distinct Chardonnay selection creates diversity of flavor while the clay soils provide richness. Every year this block has stood out to us and in 2017, we felt it merited being bottled separately.

Production

Chardonnay vinification is a very important part of the final equation because of the grape’s malleability and the impact of the Winemaker’s decisions that can be easily imparted. We approach the wine with a conservative yet strategic use of new French oak so as to never smother the wine in oak, lifting all the delicate nuances of the grape.

Everything is fermented in barrel as 100% native yeast and aged in 25% new French oak puncheons for 16 months accentuating the complexity. Full ML and no lees stirring round the wine out without adding heaviness and preserving the restraint. 147 cases. 13.0% alcohol.