With a few years of age, this has turned into a wonderful balance between generosity and freshness. Has all the hallmarks of great Sonoma Coast Chardonnay—bright fruit, a touch of honeycomb with a firm core.
The Chardonnay at La Cruz Vineyard sits on a hillside that overlooks the Petaluma River, a few miles southeast of the town of Petaluma. It’s a late ripening site and the vines are small. Recently converted to organic farming in an effort to boost soil health. The harvest comes late here, around the end of September/beginning of October most years. The Wente selection of Chardonnay here is considered by many winemakers to be the best of the many Chardonnay selections available—small clustered, low yielding, concentrated flavors.
Whole cluster fruit is sent through just the rollers on a destemmer to break up the bunches and begin extraction before splitting the wine in half between oak and concrete. After time in each vessel, the wines are swapped so that all wine sees both materials. Native yeast is used for both primary and naturally occurring malolactic fermentation with use of battonage. Fermented and aged in a combination of concrete eggs and neutral oak barrels.
2016 was a good year to be a grapevine, after four years of drought the winter finally gave up a bit of rain. The growing season, although somewhat warm and early, was forgiving as the fruit came in the door in excellent shape across the board. After the lower yields of the previous vintage, it was nice to have a good amount of fruit to work with.
Wine Type: White, Still, Dry
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay, Clone 4, Wente
Vineyard: La Cruz Vineyard
Appellation: Petaluma Gap, Sonoma Coast
Winemaker: Byron Kosuge
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