The 2010 vintage saw a return of El Niño weather patterns with a moderately wet rainy season lasting well into May, with just over thirteen inches. The unseasonably cool growing season was reminiscent of 1998, the last significant El Niño vintage, with very persistent fog and mild temperatures throughout the late spring and summer months. Despite the cool vintage, berry set was not adversely effected, and an above-average Chardonnay crop slowed ripening further. A welcome warming trend occured at the end of August that helped push ripening along. With growing degree days (GDD) only near 2100 - a very cool Region I - our Chardonnay, Clone 809, did not reach full maturity until the 1st of October, when the distinctive floral character peaked.
The vineyards for the October Night Chardonnay lie among 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 windprotected 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, attractive and powerful floral character. The soil is laden throughout its loamy profile with “Greenfield potatoes”--stones that resemble potatoes in size and appearance and absorb heat during the day. They then radiate their heat after sunset, enhancing floral character and richness.
|Origin:||Arroyo Seco AVA, Monterey County|
|Harvest Date:||October 1 and October 10, 2010|
|Process:||Night harvested, vineyard pressed (to 0.8 bars) and settled|
|Harvest Chemistries:||25.4° Brix, pH 3.53, total acidity .72 g/100ml|
Fermentation: In barrel for an average of 10 days
Malolactic: Inoculated each barrel with Christian Hansen CH-11 strain of malolactic bacteria on Oct 3 and Oct 13, 2010. Completed malolactic fermentation on Dec 12, 2010.
Stirring: Stirred each barrel weekly starting Oct 13, 2010 until Jan 2011 (during malolactic fermentation and one month post)
Post-Stirring: Topped up barrels and monitored free sulfur dioxide and oxygen
Maturation: Aged in barrel sur lie for 12 months in 45% new oak
Barrel Type: French oak
Coopers: Francois Fréres
|Bottling Numbers:||PH: 3.51
Total Acidity: 0.69g/100ml
Alcohol: 14.3% by volume
Residual Sugar: 0.71g/100ml
Cases Produced: 1,173
Cellaring: Enjoy now, or cellar for up to 5 years
The 2010 October Night Chardonnay has a youthful straw yellow color, and floral aromas with pear, lime and orange peel, and toasty vanilla. The winemaking techniques, used 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. This all contributed to a wonderfully complex bouquet that is echoed on the palate with textural richness.
—Jeff Meier, winemaker
Price: $28.00 750ml