2015 Martin Ray "809" RRV Chardonnay
These grapes were sourced from only a few rows in a small block of Chardonnay situated just south of Healdsburg, along the banks of the Russian River. The deposits of sandy loam soil from the river provide excellent drainage which helps concentrate the defining aromas and flavors from the 809 clone.
The culmination of factors from another drought year in California surprised us with another wonderful vintage. An unseasonably dry and warm winter, which led to an early spring, forced the vines into bud break during peak frost season. However, the spring weather stayed mild during fruit set and led into a relatively warm summer which hastened ripening to unprecedented early harvest dates. Although the crop, overall, was lighter (and much, much earlier), than we've seen in several years, the outstanding quality of the fruit and resulting wines cannot be understated.
Since the vintage offered only a few tons of this fruit, we whole-cluster pressed grapes in our smallest press using very light pressure. After cold-settling for two days, the juice was racked to carefully chosen French oak barrels where it was allowed to go through primary and malo-lactic fermentation with only its native flora. The wine is aged for 10 months in 30% new French oak, selected for its light influence and propensity to accentuate the distinctive characteristics of the clone.
This delicious Chardonnay is eager to please with a tropical bouquet of coconut, kiwi, honeydew melon, and Meyer lemon zest, wrapped in the floral aromas of gardenias and orange blossoms. Sure to be a favorite summer drinker, the juicy, fruit-forward palate is framed by bright acids and a concise finish.