2010 Chardonnay, Freestone Vineyards
Chardonnay grapes were hand-picked in the cool morning temperatures to preserve sugar and acidity levels in the fruit, then whole cluster pressed directly to barrel for a slow, natural fermentation. Barrels were stirred when necessary to suspend the lees during malolactic fermentation and for added texture. The Chardonnays were aged 14 months in 55% new and 45% two- to three-year-old light to medium toast French oak barrels and racked just once prior to bottling on February 15, 2012.
This wine is a mix of the best selections from the estate plantings, including some heirloom selections that define its character and structure. Initial aromas fill the senses with stone fruit and honeysuckle followed by citrus zest, wet stone, vanilla and toasted brioche. With a rich, creamy texture cut by crisp acidity, this Chardonnay has great intensity with vibrant, concentrated citrus, lemongrass, peach, honey and lemon crème brûlée flavors. A full-bodied wine that is texturally complete with balanced minerality and a lingering finish.
The 2010 season started with modest rainfall and cool to moderate daytime temperatures. Budbreak was nearly complete in the Chardonnay vineyards by the middle of March. The unusually extended frost season lasted from April into late May but caused little to no damage throughout the Chardonnay vineyards, due to delayed vine development. Bloom was completed by early June. Veraison began the second week of August and the majority of all blocks were complete by August 25th. Picking began on October 1st and continued through the 21st, finishing just before the late October heavy rains descended on the region. The 2010 Chardonnay growing season was slow and cool, producing excellent fruit quality with uniform sugar and acid levels, despite the late season weather challenges, making for ideal natural winemaking conditions. The finished wines are balanced and fresh with a distinctly Freestone spice element.