2007 was the coolest vintage of the last five years and included unseasonably cold and windy temperatures during fruit set, causing a phenomenon that the French call “millenderage” or “hens and chicks.” The result is a cluster with normal size berries - “hens” - interspersed with tiny unfertilized (seedless) berries - “chicks.” Although the Chardonnay clusters were very small and light-weight, the flavor intensity seemed to be enhanced in the diminished size. This intensified fruit character and retention of the grape’s natural acidity allowed us to delay harvest until we reached a very ripe 25.7° Brix, creating a wine of tremendous fruit intensity and lush palate weight.
The vineyards for the October Night Chardonnay lie in J. Lohr’s Block 9 plantings in the Arroyo Seco AVA of Monterey County, near the mouth of the Arroyo Seco river, which provides the vines a slightly more wind protected environment in which to grow. Comprised largely of Dijon Clone 809 Chardonnay -known in some circles as the Musqué Clone -these vines produce a very distinctive and attractive, powerful floral character. The soil is laden throughout its loamy profile with “Greenfield potatoes,” stones that resemble potatoes in size and appearance and which absorb heat during the day and radiate their heat after sunset, enhancing floral character and richness.
|Origin:||October Night Vineyard, Arroyo Seco AVA, Monterey County|
|Harvest Dates:||September 27th and October 14th, 2007|
|Process:||Night harvested, vineyard pressed (to 0.8 bars) and settled.|
|Harvest Chemistries:||25.7° Brix avg, pH 3.46, total acidity 0.8 g/100ml|
|Vinification:||Yeast: M2 and Montrachet
Fermentation: In barrel for an average of 13 days
Malo-Lactic: Inoculated each barrel with MCW strain of malolactic bacteria on Oct 22, 2007. Completed malolactic fermentation on Dec 6, 2007.
Stirring: Weekly stirring of each barrel starting Oct 22, 2007 until Jan 2008 (during malolactic fermentation and one month post)
Post-Stirring: Monthly topping up of barrels and free sulfur dioxide and oxygen monitoring
Maturation: Aged in barrel sur lie for 11 months in 28% new oak
A youthful straw yellow color, with Muscat and floral aromas, pear, lemon curd and vanilla. The winemaking techniques to enhance the spicy and exotic nature of this Chardonnay included barrel fermentation in largely one-year-old French oak barrels in the coldest corner of our barrel room, followed by malolactic fermentation with lees stirring, all contributing to a wonderfully complex bouquet that is echoed on the palate with textural richness.