Barrel fermentation in new and seasoned French oak added toasty vanilla and spice complexities. During the twelve months of barrel aging, we regularly stirred the “lees” in barrel, which imparts an elegant fullness and creamy texture on the palate. In the glass, the wine is both creamy and crisp, with flavors of golden delicious apple, pear, Meyer lemon, baking spices with a hint of minerality on the long finish.
In 1965, our founder Rod Strong was the first to plant Chardonnay in what would later be recognized as the Chalk Hill American Viticultural Area (AVA), established officially in 1983. He recognized the region as distinct from the rest of Russian River Valley for its unique, volcanically-derived, chalky white ash soils, which impart a subtle mineral character to wines grown there.
Early winter showers were followed by a warm, dry beginning to the new growing season, setting the stage for an early bud break. Alternating overcast days and heat waves continued through spring and summer, with a particularly hot period in late June, and an unseasonal rain in July. The Chalk Hill Chardonnay was harvested from August 14 to September 12.