2016 Martin Ray Laguna Nueva Chardonnay
New to the portfolio, this Russian River Chardonnay comes from neighboring Cartan Vineyard overlooking the Laguna de Santa Rosa, just east of our Estate. The Laguna is the richest area of wildlife habitat, and the most biolgically diverse part of the county. These vineyards are difficult to farm due to the high water table, and ripen earlier due to its slightly warmer temperatures.
Much to the delight of both grape growers and winemakers, the 2016 vintage carried through from beginning to end, with ideal conditions and ideal results. Long-awaited rainfall during the winter and early spring replenished desperate reservoirs and ground water, easing the concerns generated by several years’ worth of drought conditions. The summer was kind, with only a few heat spikes, which then carried over into a true Indian Summer; keeping daytime temperatures above normal, and the mornings foggy and cool throughout the peak month of September, permitting us to take our time in
evaluating and calling picks at their optimal maturity. Nature patiently waited for us to bring in our final lots before returning with the rain that has traditionally been the signal for the end of the harvest season.
As one of our premium, vineyard-designated Chardonnays, we take special care with each step from vineyard to bottle. These grapes are handpicked then whole-cluster pressed with careful attention in separating the free run and lightly pressed juice from hard press to eliminate potential for bitterness. It is then sent to French oak barrels to undergo primary and malolactic fermentation, during which it is stirred bi-weekly to maximize mouthfeel and volume. This wine aged for 10 months on 30% new French oak, before we hand-selected the best barrels that make up the blend.
The 2016 Laguna Nueva is a chardonnay that exhibits subtle orange blossom on the nose, giving way to lemon creme, and lively clementine zest. Balanced by a refreshing acidity the wine offers traces of golden delicious apple and caramelized pineapple in the finish.