94 Points: Editors Choice - Wine Enthusiast

Chamisal was the first vineyard planted in the Edna Valley in 1973 and now contains 80 acres planted to 5 varieties and 25 clonal selections. The nearby Pacific ocean creates a long temperate growing season for exceptional hang time, which combines with the calcareous, clay-rich soil to produce fruit with exceptional intensity and complex flavors.

2010 will go down as one of the coolest years in Californian history. A very chilly spring with significant frost events delayed budbreak 10-14 days behind normal. Due to cooler La Niña ocean temperatures, the summer was much cooler than average with the June coastal fog persisting into July and August. An extended heat wave in the last week of September gave us record-breaking heat, with temperatures exceeding 110°F for four days, allowing ripening to catch up a bit. Due to our cool maritime climate, the Chardonnay weathered this heat wave and the resulting flavors show good retention of acidity and ripeness without high alcohol.

A selection of our best vineyard blocks were hand harvested and sorted at night before they were whole cluster pressed. The juice was cold settled before fermentation in a combination of tanks and barrels using both native and cultured yeast. Full malolactic fermentation followed as the wine aged in barrel on the lees for eight months. After the top 15% of our barrels were selected, they were blended and kept in tank for one month prior to aging in barrel for an additional five months.

Clone 96, one of the favored Dijon Clones, has great palate weight and combines ripe fruit with nutty characters. The Chamisal Clone, from the original planting in 1973, lends citrus and tropical notes to the wine. Clone 352 is a great all-around performer and fills in between the two other clones.

A combination of vineyard block and barrel selection, this wine shows elegant fruit, wet stone minerality and a lavish framework of oak, sweet vanilla, brioche and subtle spice. The palate shows all the hallmarks of a fine Chardonnay with a rich, full mid palate, deft balance and length.

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