Wine Background: Oregon’s pioneer winegrowers planted using selections of Chardonnay that had been chosen for California’s climate. They were very late ripening - in Oregon, two or three weeks after Pinot noir. In 1974, David Adelsheim worked harvest in Burgundy and realized that the vines there produced fewer and smaller grape clusters and ripened in tandem with Pinot noir. He suspected that planting clones with these characteristics might be a boon for Oregon’s wine industry. David followed through by helping create a system at Oregon State University that dealt with all the red tape and mandatory quarantines and allowed both Chardonnay and Pinot noir clones to be imported. These so-called “Dijon” clones were eventually released for planting in 1989. As the vines have matured, we’ve found we can produce excitingly rich Chardonnay withminimal influence from oak.
Growing Season: The 2012 growing season got off to a slightly slower than average start, with bud break occurring on April 23rd, about a week later than normal for the Willamette Valley. Weather during bloom (the third week of June) was close to ideal, with minimal rainfall towards the end of flowering. Reduced berry set led to smaller clusters and lower yields than the prior vintage. A warmer and drier than average growing season resulted in extremely low disease pressure and provided ample sunshine for the grapes to develop beautifully complex flavor profiles. Veraison occurred around the end of August and the Willamette Valley experienced excellent ripening conditions until harvest. Picking of the Chardonnay occurred between October 2nd and 11th. The remarkable growing season of 2012 resulted in clean fruit with intense colors and concentrated flavors.
Winemaking: Gentle, whole-cluster pressing was used to separate the juice from the skins as quickly and as cleanly as possible for this Chardonnay. The majority (75%) of the juice was fermented in stainless steel tanks to retain fruit purity, flavor and aroma. The remaining juice was fermented in neutral barrels to augment textural richness and create a more balanced and complex wine. In order to preserve freshness and acidity, this wine did not undergo malolactic fermentation.