2016 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.
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. Harvested September 26th
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 key lime, mandarin, vanilla crème custard and aromatic jasmine, on a foundation of fresh Granny Smith apple, subtle wildflower honey and vanilla with hints of lemongrass. Well-integrated French oak and balanced acidity leaves the mouthfeel satiny and generous with honed edges.