This wine is bone dry, loaded with fresh minerality. It’s bright and crisp, with flavors both complex and rich. You might find aromas of white blossoms, or fresh apples and pears with hints of peach pit and bitter almond with an integrated creaminess thanks to judicious lee stirring.
“I’ve long been a fan of Chardonnay, so when I started working with Kermit Lynch in 1992, I was especially enthusiastic about meeting with our Burgundy producers. During a trip to France in 1993, I met with Chardonnay producers in the Loire Valley, Alsace, the Jura, and the Languedoc, and learned about Chardonnay from these other wine regions. I grew to love them as well.
Nothing, however, equaled the attraction I developed for Chardonnay from Chablis. The producers I came to know from this northern-most area of Burgundy became my favorites. The wine improved any meal, I learned, and was even delicious on its own. A platter of fresh Bélon oysters with a bottle of Chablis at Le Dôme Café in Paris completed my education.
When our winemaker Tadeo Borchardt accompanied me to Le Dôme, we had a platter of oysters while he listened to me talk about Chablis. He mentioned a Chardonnay vineyard he knew of in the southern-most region of Sonoma County’s Carneros District, close to the Bay. The weather was cold, the soil was rocky, and it was planted to the heirloom selection known as ‘Shot-Wente’. This parcel, he felt, might grow Chardonnay similar to that in Chablis.
We ferment this wine in tanks made from food-grade stainless steel called ‘304’, so there is no oak contact. Our 2021 Chardonnay ‘304’ was harvested from the Larson Vineyard at 22 degrees Brix. The total acid is high, and the pH is low. We ferment with the native yeasts trapped on the skins of the grapes. The yeast lees that develop are slowly pumped back over the fermenting juice to maximize their contact with the wine. Fermentation lasts for two months. Malo-lactic fermentation is normally about 50% complete by then, so we allow the wine to sit on the yeast lees for another month before bottling.
The finished wine is bone dry, loaded with fresh minerality. It’s bright and crisp, with flavors both complex and rich. The alcohol level is low, and the wine is ideal with all seafood, especially oysters. I especially enjoy a cold glass of it at the end of the day, though — all by itself.” — Bruce Neyers