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Spring Release Russian River Valley Chardonnay

Winemaker’s Notes

Perhaps our finest Russian River Chardonnay to date, this bottling typifies the direction we are steadily heading with our Chardonnay program. Our continual fine-tuning of both vineyard sources and viticultural management is enabling us to harvest earlier and earlier each year at lower sugar levels, which ultimately enhances precision of flavor and palate length. The 2004 season saw an early budbreak in mid-February and a dry spring, in direct contrast to the wet 2003 equivalent. The vines progressed rapidly and set a moderate crop load with small even clusters and berries. Summer conditions were mild and temperate, absent of any major heat events and the individual vineyards looked in perfect condition with moderately sized, healthy canopies. Vine balance was the best we have ever witnessed, thus restricting irrigation to a couple of late season applications. Our favored Wente field selections looked set to produce some of their most intense fruit to date. Harvest weather featured a series of heat spikes between the Pinot and Chardonnay ripening, which temporarily pushed sugar level upwards, but they fell once cooler weather returned and we harvested under perfect conditions in mid-September. The generally cool year produced superb intensity of flavor and elevated natural acidity levels, giving the wines a real sense of cool climate tension and precision. To preserve these elements we elected to minimize lees stirring, preferring the naturally slow textural enhancement that comes with lees contact over an extended period in barrel. While other producers were bottling their new wines in August '05, ours were patiently gaining richness in our cold cellar. Unfiltered bottling took place in March '06, a full 18 months after harvest and the wine was absolutely screaming its Russian River heritage.

Pale lemon yellow. Penetrating aromas of ripe citrus, honey and flint with a subtle edge of hazelnut. Immediate intensity of wet-stone minerality and citrus oil leads to great natural extract and palate richness. Maintains purity of fruit and finesse to the slow-building finish, which features perfectly integrated yet taut acidity and persistent length. Delicious on release, the wine will continue to gain honeyed richness with 4 or 5 years aging in a cool cellar. Serve between 55 and 60 degrees to ensure full flavor development.

Andy Smith

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Harvest Date

August 24th through September 17th


Russian River Valley


Old Wente, Robert Young & UCD 108

Age of Vines at Harvest

22 years

Barrel Aging

Barrel aged sur lie for 18 months without stirring in 45% new French oak from Tonnelleries Damy, Francois Freres and Remond


2910 cases of 750mL
60 cases of 1.5L
12 bottles of 3L