Right from the start, you can sense the complexity imparted on this wine by its extended time in barrel. Alluring aromas of fresh baked Brioche and marzipan are layered with rich lemon custard notes. The creamy mouthfeel is ripe, with delicate hints of honey and candied citrus. The weighted body is alluring without overpowering the palate or showing too much malolactic fermentation. The result is a creamier structure without a heavy viscosity. The wine finishes with a mellow, quenching acidity.
The 2020 growing season enjoyed near-perfect growing conditions. With minimal rain this winter, the vines were awakened with ideal moderate springtime temperatures, which eliminated any frost threat to the developing buds. At most sites, fruit set was during the optimal timeframe due to warm, consistent conditions. Veraison occurred 7-10 days earlier than in previous years due to the temperate weather and minimal rain. Moderate daytime temperatures and cool nights throughout the summer months, with a few of the normal short-lived heat spikes, allowed for excellent flavor development. The year saw an early harvest, with 90% of the region’s grapes being picked before the late Fall.
Our founder Joe Martin planted our first Chardonnay vines at Behler Vineyard in the early 1970s. The Sonoma Mountains frame this picturesque valley vineyard to the west and the Mayacamas Mountains to the east. Warm summer days are cooled by evening breezes and fog from the Pacific Ocean, resulting in complex flavors and elegant aromas.
Winemaker Katie Madigan crafts this wine in a richer, more opulent style than our other premium Chardonnays. The fruit is picked at daybreak and delivered to the winery while still cold to preserve the wine’s delicate flavors, aromas and acidity. Grapes are pressed whole cluster, then fermented sur lie in a temperature-controlled room maintained at 55 degrees to ensure a slow fermentation. For this Extended Age wine, select barrels were set aside, chosen for their taste profile and acidity level, and given an extra 12 months of aging and battonage (stirring) to impart a rounder, more complex mouthfeel.