Our Lower Slope Chardonnay is sleek and stylish with great acidity and power. On the nose, intense aromatics of lemon, lemon zest, and lime flower.
91 pts - Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
Year's Best US Chardonnays - Wine & Spirits
WINE CLUB EXCLUSIVE
On the lower slope of Bell Mountain Estate, on the Russian River side of our property, there lies one small block of Chardonnay. It is on a rolling benchland that benefits from cooler nighttime temperatures and lingering morning fog. We harvested our Chardonnay in four different lots, each ripening at different times with varying levels of maturity and often earlier than most vintners in our region. This provides us fruit that is both crisp and ripe with unique flavors from the Chardonnay “spice rack.” Our two favorite lots became the foundation of our Small Lot Collection Lower Slope Chardonnay – a perfect example of a California Chardonnay with Old World wine values of crisp acidity and minerality.
One half of the fruit was fermented in stainless steel, kept on the lees, and stirred weekly to improve the body, mouthfeel, and develop bready-yeasty flavors. We aged the remaining half in French oak barrels before blending. We also included 15% Old Wente Clone Chardonnay in this wine. The clonal diversity adds more intrigue to the wine. To create this blend we cherry pick our favorite micro-crus in our Chardonnay block. The result is a sleek, stylish wine with great acidity and power, surrounded by intense aromatics of lemon, lemon zest, and lime flower. The stainless steel fermenting and aging beautifully highlight the fruit.
The 2016 vintage began with a warm spring and some late rains that gave us an early budbreak and enough water to provide good early season vine growth despite being in the tail end of a severe drought. June and July were warmer than usual, but when we approached the key ripening months of August and September, the weather cooled significantly, allowing a slow approach to maturity. These conditions favor good fruit development without excessively high alcohol, just the kind of wine we love to make.