2011 Unoaked Chardonnay
2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
In keeping with the theme of crafting wines we like to drink, our first Chardonnay from the J. Stephen label is an unoaked Chardonnay. Here again we were looking to showcase the outstanding quality of fruit available to us, rather than our ability to pick out fine French barrels. This wine was a joy to make, and the end product is the epitome of classic Russian River Valley Chardonnay- elegant, lively and crisp.
The grapes for this cuvee come from a single vineyard off of Westside Road in the Russian River Valley, though from two clones picked and pressed together, the low yielding Wente clone, and the more generous Clone 4. Through this clonal mix, we are looking to gain the best of both worlds- the Wente, with its smaller berry size and earlier ripening, provides an excellent framework to build wine structure, contributing concentrated stone fruit flavors and soft palate texture- the Clone 4, with its larger berries and later ripening, provides great acidity, contributing a crisp finish and excellent citrus overtones.
After pressing, we fermented the resultant juice cold in neutral French oak barrels until dryness, allowing it to go through partial malolactic fermentation and stopping of its own accord. Stirring of the lees was carried out intermittently to help build mouth feel and palate weigh for four months post fermentation. This wine was a joy to make, and the end product is the epitome of classic Russian River Valley Chardonnay- elegant, lively and crisp.
|Brix at Harvest||21.9 °|