2015 Martin Ray Mill Station Chardonnay
The grapes for this wine were sourced in Russian River Valley from the Mill Station Vineyard in Green Valley. Back in the 1970's, Martin Ray was one of the first wineries to highlight the stellar Dutton Ranch fruit in their bottlings, and we continue this long term partnership today. Mill Station possesses the rare combination of excellent soil, old vines and ideal climate to consistently produce Chardonnay with finesse.
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.
As a vineyard-designated Chardonnay, we take extra care in every step, from the vineyard to the bottle, to capture the distinct terroir of Mill Station Vineyard. Free run and light press are separated immediately from hard press to eliminate potential bitterness. After the juice is pressed and racked, it is sent to 40% new French Oak barrels to undergo both primary and secondary fermentations. In order to add complexity to the aromas, flavors, and mouthfeel, we separate the juice into several lots, and inoculate with different yeast and malolactic strains. During fermentation, it is stirred bi-weekly to maximize lees contact. The wine ages in barrel for 12 months before we individually select barrels to make the final blend.
This delicious Chardonnay exudes beautiful notes of ripe melon, lemon crème, and aromatic orange blossoms, on a foundation of subtle honey and vanilla with hints of earthy fresh hay. Well-integrated French oak and balanced acidity leaves the mouthfeel satiny and generous with honed edges.