Light gold in color with crystal clarity. Aromas of apple, lemon verbena, and tangerine express themselves on the nose. A palate of intense depth and complexity compliments bright citrus flavors and the classic sea-salt minerality that is typical of our extreme Sonoma Coast estate vineyard. Finish is long and salivating with refreshing acidity.
2011 started off dry and warm with temperatures in the 70s in January and early February. This pattern broke in late February when temperatures plummeted and March rains delivered 20 inches and put us back to normal rainfall levels. Consistent rain and colder temperatures pushed budbreak out to early April — the latest date in Flowers’ history. Flowering occurred as normal in early June with near perfect weather. The growing season was cool and fogs were prevalent below the ridge tops. Very low yields in 2011 led to uniform ripening that allowed us to achieve phenolic ripeness at lower Brix, high natural acidity, and intense flavor concentration. The 2011 harvest was fast and furious. We began picking early in anticipation of the notorious September heat spikes and all of the Pinot Noir was harvested well before the early October rains.
Sourced entirely from our Organic and Biodynamically farmed Camp Meeting Ridge Estate Vineyard. Planted in 1991, these “older” vines are producing some of our most exciting and interesting Chardonnays today. Given the extremes of this site, each small block ripens at its own pace. Grapes for the 2011 vintage were harvested between September 8th and October 2nd when optimal maturity was achieved. Picked by hand in the foggy frigidness of night, we want to ensure full integrity of the fruit and cold grape temperatures for a nice clean whole cluster pressing by sunrise.
Prior to loading the press, the grapes go through a rigorous hand sorting to ensure only the finest grape clusters are accepted. We gently squeeze our Chardonnay in a bladder press for over two hours while constantly tasting for the right balance. The juice is then settled in tank for roughly 24 hours before being transferred into French oak barrels for fermentation. We allow the natural secondary (malolactic) fermentation to take place until we achieve an ideal acid balance. 67% of the chardonnay was fermented and aged in 100% French Oak (45% new) on original lees, for 15 months. 33% of the wine was moved to stainless after 12 months and held for the remaining 3 months of cellar aging before bottling.
|Vineyard||Camp Meeting Ridge|
|Aging||Cellared in 100% French Oak, (45% new) - 67% for 15 months - 33% moved to stainless after 12 months for remaining 3 month|
“Very nuanced. That’s what I love about it.” – Chantal Forthun (June 2017)
Jason Jardine’s team at Flowers farms 21 acres of chardonnay on the crest of Camp Meeting Ridge, the elevations rising from 1,150 to 1,400 feet on the far Sonoma coast. The soils are based on uplifts from the Pacific seabed, pushed up by movements along the San Andreas Fault; the underground is mostly schist, shale and sandstone. The oldest vines on the property were planted by Walt and Joan Flowers in 1991. When Jardine arrived in 2010, he began to implement biodynamic practices to strengthen the expression of the place in the wine and this 2011 takes Camp Meeting Ridge to a new level. It captures the ocean mist in a savory, earthen chardonnay, its mellow richness transforming fine lees, lemon and smoky green tea scents into a harmonious wine that’s easy to drink in quantity and still delivers a lot of flavor. The acidity itself is flavorful and persistent, adding to the umami depth. Wrap yourself in a blanket on a beach night in Jenner and this wine will keep you warm.
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