When Jim asked Anne to make a Chardonnay, she was reticent. Anne prefers traditional old-world white Burgundy and is not enamored with the riper approach to the California style of Chardonnay. In order to find the right vineyard site, Anne went to Al Steele of Dutton Ranch, the famous Russian River Valley grower in Sonoma County, known for exceptional Chardonnays. She asked him for the coldest block in his coldest vineyard. Anne loves the restraint, balance, and complexity, which the climate of this site naturally produces.
Red Mare's Chardonnay has been vineyard-designated from day one. It comes from Dutton's Mills Station Vineyard, where the soil is a thick deposit of the coveted Goldridge series, known for producing deliciously complex Chardonnay. It is the combination of the "Old Block" planted to an unknown clone in the '70s along with a touch of the modern - Dijon Clone 76. This results in the beautiful juxtaposition of the bright, fruit-forward characters of the Dijon clone, and the textured, mineral characteristics of the Old Block.
We make our Chardonnay with great care - sorting and then pressing only whole clusters, which does sacrifice yield, but protects the natural acidity and prevents over-extraction. The juice goes directly to the barrel after a short cold settling. It ferments in 100% Burgundian oak barrels, with about 15% new. Malolactic is a rather philosophical question at Red Mare Wines. We allow this Chardonnay to go naturally through malolactic, but rarely all the way. Most years, the wine stops somewhere around 30 - 60%. Interestingly, the place it naturally rests is usually where we prefer it organoleptically.
American Fine Wine Competition Double Gold (2015)
American Fine Wine Competition Gold (2014)
American Fine Wine Competition Double Gold (2013)
This wine has a lovely juxtaposition of cold pineapple and fresh pear along with subtle earthier notes like clean dry hay and freshly wet gravel. As the wine opens up, stewed apples and vanilla cream come through, making it a perfect wine to start off those fall and winter meals. In the mouth, it enters with a lovely freshness, filling the mouth with its generous volume. The aromatics, which match the nose, rise up as the wine warms in the mouth. It finishes clean with lovely acidity and comforting warmth.
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The 2016 vintage is the last of Napa’s recent drought years. Luckily, late spring rains helped recharge the soil profile giving a strong start to the season. The early season started off well with no frosts or huge temperature spikes. After the cool spring of 2015, this uneventful spring was welcome. Mild temperatures continued into August and allowed for outstanding flavor development and retention of acid. 2016’s moderate yields and ideal temperatures are apparent with the expressive fruit flavors and freshness showing in the glass.