We had a weird and unpredictable spring in 2008 with many cold nights bringing damaging frosts to much of the north coast growing region. Fortunately, the majority of our Chardonnay vineyards escaped damage, leaving us with only a slightly below average crop size this year. The balance of the growing season was mostly typical, with the normal July heat-spike and then another round of heat in late-August, just in time to push the Chardonnay to full ripeness before the September harvest.
We made a few changes in the cellar this year by experimenting with our pressing programs in order to validate our existing protocols. We also aged a small percentage of the Chardonnay in stainless steel drums, rather than oak barrels, in order to bring in a “fruit reserve.” We undertook all of these steps to ensure that we are continuing to deliver Chardonnay with purity, complexity, and of the highest quality.
Brilliantly clear with a beautiful golden-straw color, this Chardonnay invites you in with tempting aromas of pear tart, tropical passion fruit and lychee, along with wet gravel and a subtle oak spiciness. The palate opens round and fleshy with flavors of juicy peach and mouthwatering, big, citrus notes of pink grapefruit and honey tangerine. The mid-palate is layered with green apple and an understated, nutty, oak tone which segues into an interesting long and spicy finish. Big structure and great weight throughout complement the numerous layers of flavors to complete the package on this classic, Montelena Chardonnay.
Harvest Dates Sept. 4 to Sept. 20
Sugar at Harvest 24.8° brix
Barrel Aging; 10 months, 100% French, 11% New
Bottling Date July 2009
Release Date Spring 2010