2017 Martin Ray Joseph Belli Chardonnay
Joseph Belli’s steep, terraced hillside vineyard is a dream come true for growing Chardonnay. Beginning in 1995, Joe has developed his property block by block, taking great care by planting clones that flourish in the Russian River climate. Comprised of Rued, Robert Young and Dijon 96, it is more opulent in fruit and floral notes than our other Chardonnays.
Record setting rain and cooler temperatures lengthened dormancy, with first signs of budbreak mid-March. Hotter than average days in June and July brought harvest mid-August with lower than average yields across all varieties.
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 12 months on 40% new French oak, before we hand-selected the best barrels that make up the blend.
Complex white flowers, with touches of peony and orange blossom reminiscent of spring compliment vibrant Galia melon, lemon cream mousse and sweet corn. There is an intensity of concentration with luscious red apple, touches of hazelnut, and racy acidity throughout. Beautifully textured, an inherent creaminess lingers on the finish with quince and marzipan.