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Spring Release Russian River Valley Chardonnay

Winemaker’s Notes

A stellar group of cool climate vineyards contribute to the most intense Chardonnay we have bottled to date. These impeccable old-vine sources, largely dry-farmed, provide us with such high quality material that the wines are able to develop at their own pace and in harmony with our non-intrusive winemaking philosophy. Planted with traditional Californian field selections, these vineyards produce tiny berries of profound intensity and create wines that are initially tight and steely in barrel, but which blossom with extended barrel aging to show their inherent natural extract, weight and vibrancy. The Wente and Robert Young selections show precise minerality with taut structure. Clone 108 from Charles Heintz Vineyard overlays these characters with wonderfully rich baked apple and hazelnut flavors. The Rued (musque) selection from Dutton Ranch adds the classic Russian River honeyed richness with an edge of piercing lime. These are remarkable vineyard sources.

A moderately warmer and slightly shorter season nonetheless produced great concentration of flavors and natural acids. 2001 brought a return of the low yields of 1999, aided by some early frost damage and late heat at harvest, which further reduced berry size. Two parts of the blend fermented slowly to dryness over eight months preserving freshness and providing an additional layer of richness. The final blend was assembled after ten months and then returned to barrel for a further four months to allow the individual components to harmonize, resulting in the development of subtle flavor and textural nuances.

Powerfully intense aromatics of Meyer lemon, honeysuckle, baked apple and floral spice. The vibrancy of the wine is immediately apparent with taut minerals and ripe lime leading to a richly layered, creamy mid-palate of lemon curd, creme brulee and stone fruits with subtle nutmeg notes. Despite such richness, the wine never loses its sense of balance due to the striking vibrancy and refreshing acidity, which highlight its cool climate origins. This wine will develop significantly over the next 3 to 5 years as the youthful intensity mellows to creamy richness. We recommend serving at no cooler than 55 degrees to allow the full range of flavors to blossom and as such, suggest gently decanting for half an hour during the first year after release.

Andy Smith

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Harvest Date

September 28th through October 6th


Russian River Valley


Old Wente, Rued, Robert Young, UCD 108

Age of Vines at Harvest

19 years

Barrel Aging

Barrel aged sur lees for 14 months with monthly batonnage in 50% new French oak from Tonnelleries- Damy, Billon, Francois Freres and Rousseau


2251 cases of 750mL
60 cases of 1.5L
12 bottles of 3L