Vintage: 1990 was our fourth year of drought conditions in California. January and February were totally rainless months, just day after day of clear, mild weather. Budbreak was unusually early, the vines coming out of dormancy in early March. Record warm days in May did cause some shattering of the flowers, which resulted in a smaller crop set. Aside from the lack of rain the entire growing season was dominated by mild weather, excellent ripening conditions for the fruit. Although the crop was a little short, particularly in certain varietals, the quality was outstanding, starting the new decade with what could become an outstanding vintage.
Vineyards: Our Chardonnay is grown on both our vineyard properties with the majority produced at our Oakcross Vineyard in Oakville. Most of the 40 acres of Chardonnay vines of this property was planted in 1983 and 1984. Production from these hearty young vines began in 1986, and by the next year the increase in tonnage was sufficient to make our first estate grown Chardonnay. Oakville Chardonnay fruit consistently shows lush apple and lemony fruit characteristics at maturity.
Fermentation and Aging: After the fruit was crushed, we pressed off into a stainless steel tank for settling, where the juice was allowed to clarify at cool temperatures. After 2 days, two-thirds of the juice was transferred to temperature controlled 6,000 gallon tanks for cool fermentation, which lasted over 2 weeks. All of the wine, fermented to dryness, was then racked several times off the gross lees in preparation for barrel aging. The remaining third was fermented in new 60 gallon Limousin and Trancais barrels. Fermentation in the barrel at warmer temperatures was completed in just over 5 days.
This vintage spent 7 months in 60 gallon French oak cooperage, a combination of Limousin and Trancais barrels. One third new barrels contributes a smooth, vanilla, toasty extract which helps to develop the rich butterscotch character with bottle age.
Bottling Date: July 1992
Size: 750 ml
Harvest: Mild temperatures brought the fruit slowly to maturity. Harvest began on September 4th, after Labor Day weekend for a change. We were able to pick all the chardonnay fruit that same week, finishing the harvest in just 3 days. The total yield was at normal levels and in beautiful condition.
Sugar: 23.7 Brix
Acid: 0.77 g/100ml
100% Estate grown
Total Acidity: 0.74 g/100ml
Alcohol: 13.9% by volume
Winemaker Notes: This vintage is distinguished by a forward tropical fruit character and rich, creamy toasty oak in the aromas. The tropical, hints of apple and lemon fruit come through in the flavors. The barrel fermentation and aging program contribute a nice balance of rich, creamy toasty oak. The cream, vanilla oak, sweet fruit flavors follow all the way through the long finish. Even at a young stage this wine shows an impressive smoothness and overall balance.
Menu Suggestions: N/A