Our Chardonnay shows excellent fruit expression with aromas of lemon and lemon custard, a hallmark of the See's clone. These aromatics are complemented by notes of honeysuckle, vanilla, and lanolin.
Our Bell Mountain Estate ranch stretches from Alexander Valley in the north to Russian River Valley in the south and borders Chalk Hill. This unique location affords us a multitude of microclimates and well-drained, gravelly-clay soil with a compacted layer of volcanic ash underneath to grow our grapes. Of our 55 acres of planted vines, less than 10% are Chardonnay and all of those are on the Russian River Valley side of our estate. There’s a strong sense of place and personality in our wines…something that we pride ourselves on.
The 2017 Chardonnay shows excellent fruit expression with aromas of lemon and lemon custard, a hallmark of the See’s clone. We love the delicious and inviting aroma of brioche that develops during the fermentation process. These aromatics are complemented by notes of honeysuckle, vanilla, and lanolin. On the palate, ripe Meyer lemon flavors and crème brûlée predominate. Our careful lees stirring during the early part of barrel aging helped the wine develop a round entry with a creamy texture and a flinty finish. A nearly even split between new and neutral French oak add layers of complexity that support and accentuate the fruit without overpowering the delicate aromas.
2017 was a year of extremes. The winter gave us twice our normal rainfall ending a five-year drought. The summer gave us more scorchers than we care to count (16 days over 100 degrees!) The season ended with the most devastating fire in California’s history. We hope to never see a year like this one again. Despite the challenging growing conditions, we were able to make some of our greatest wines – bright and aromatic whites and rosé plus supple, concentrated reds. As with everything in winemaking, and farming in general, timing was key. Knowing when to pick (and being lucky!) made all the difference.