Four-Star Gold Medal - 2011 Orange County Wine Competition
Monterrey County, south of San Francisco is home to a huge number of vineyards, with a correspondingly huge variation in the character and quality of the grapes produced. A lot of Chardonnay is planted there, and while it is typically of decent quality, the majority ends up in larger blends, typically labeled "Central Coast." However, in the smaller sub-appellations that are dotted throughout Monterrey, some of California’s finest Chardonnay is grown by small, family-run wineries and because these AVAs tend to be less well known, they often represent great values for the quality on offer. One such AVA is Arroyo Seco, a small valley just south of the Santa Lucia Highlands. Here Chardonnay is planted in the rocky soils of an ancient creek bed. For some reason this type of soil just seems perfect for Chardonnay in California, and the Griva vineyard is no exception. Combined with the deft winemaking of Mercy Vineyards, the result is truly special.
Found in the heart of the Arroyo Seco growing region, the Griva Vineyard is located in the midst of a dried riverbed. It is a place where sandy, well-drained surface soil meets hard pan subsoil just below the surface. Add to those low yielding conditions, the large river rocks that litter the surface as well as howling wind and foggy mornings and you have an ideal location for the cultivation of distinct Chardonnay grapes. Meticulously farmed by owner Michael Griva the vineyard is home to many different varietals, including the Robert Young clone of Chardonnay.
Hand-harvested on the morning of October 20, 2009. At the winery, the fruit was whole-cluster pressed, and inoculated following two days of cold stabilization. Racked to French oak barrels (55% new), the wine was fermented and aged for ten months on its lees. which were stirred weekly. The wine finished malolactic fermentation and was bottled on August 6, 2010.
The 2009 Mercy Griva Vineyard Chardonnay is straw in color with a slight green tint. The nose is loaded with tropical fruit, green apple, and lemon. The palate is soft and lush, with apple and lemon joined by baking spice, vanilla, and a chalk-like mineral component. With 55% new French Oak, lees stirring, and full malolactic fermentation this is full-steam-ahead California Chardonnay for those who like it rich and powerful, yet the unique soils of Arroyo Seco contribute a minerality that keeps things lively. Perfect for lobster, cream sauces, or roasted chicken.
Vineyards: Griva Vineyard, Arroyo Seco
Composition: 100% Chardonnay
Clones: Robert Young clone
Harvest: October 20, 2009
Aging: 100% Barrel Fermented, 100% Malolactic, French Oak, 55% New
Bottled: August 6, 2010
Production: 160 cases
Mercy Vineyards is the fruition of friendships. Vintners Mark Dirickson and Mike Kohne have known one another for over a decade and have, collectively, been in the wine industry for over 45 years. Their experiences lead them to believe that the regional aspects of the Arroyo Seco AVA make it one of world's ideal growing regions for the wines they produce. Sourcing idyllic fruit, the wines are vinified by Mark and Mike's long-time friend and distinguished winemaker Alan Phillips. Produced in small lots, Alan employs classical winemaking techniques to help enhance the overall character of the Mercy wines.
More at www.mercywines.com.