2017 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.
After several years of drought, California and its growers were delighted to receive record setting rain and a return to normalcy during the winter season. Cooler temperatures offered the vines a longer winter slumber, pushing back budbreak to mid-March, with spring temperatures carrying into May. Heat spikes in early summer led to veraison beginning early July. Hotter than average days brought ripening, but diurnal shifts overnight gave the fruit much needed time to recover. Harvest came abruptly mid-August with lower than average yields, but complex fruit with expressive aromatics. October 2017 will forever be remembered historically, as Northern California was swept with severe fires. While there was devastation throughout Napa and Sonoma, we were fortunate enough to have our crops in and did not suffer loss with our most prized vineyards. Overall, with the highs and the lows, we anticipate great results in quality from this memorable vintage.
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 45% 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 10 months before we individually select barrels to make the final blend.
This delicious Chardonnay exudes beautiful notes of lemon zest, satsuma and fragrant honeysuckle,
with touches of fresh hulled raw almond. Fresh honeycrisp apple peel and vibrant citrus continue on
the mid palate, interlaced with subtle sweetgrass and Tahitian vanilla custard. Well-integrated French oak and balanced acidity leaves the mouthfeel satiny and generous with honed edges.