2016 Oris Vineyard Chardonnay
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Vineyard: The Wente selection grapes used to craft our 2016 Russian Orsi Vineyard Chardonnay were sourced from 35-year-old vines located on the western edge of Bernard Orsi’s Eastside Road Vineyard, adjacent to the Russian River. The vineyard is located in the Middle Reach of the Russian River Valley and across the river from the famed Rochioli Vineyard. This area receives excellent sun and warmth during the day to ripen the fruit, but also benefits from the cooling maritime fog that follows the River inland, providing great natural acidity in the grapes. The old-vine fruit we use comes from widely spaced vines that are dry farmed and quadrilateral trained. The grapes from these mature vines produce beautifully balanced wines that showcase rich, luscious fruit and classic cool-climate acidity.
Vintage: After four years of severe drought, the winter season brought much need rainfall that filled reservoirs and recharged groundwater. Continued spring rains and warm temperatures lead to an early budbreak and rapid growth. Perfect conditions during flowing resulted in excellent fruit set. A long summer growing season with warm days, cool evenings and few heat events, lead into a moderate, cool fall. August temperatures were mild and even bordered on cool. The morning maritime layer didn’t recede until mid-day, which allowed us to leave fruit hanging for optimum flavor development and produced Chardonnay with intense aromatics, rich flavors, bright acidity and excellent balance.
Winemaking: The fruit for this wine was picked at sunrise to ensure that it arrived at the winery cool and in pristine condition. Grapes were whole-cluster pressed using a very gentle pneumatic press, and the cold juice was transferred directly to barrel. A long, slow fermentation using native yeast was completed in barrel, as was the malolactic fermentation, with each barrel stirred by hand once a week. The wine naturally settled, and was bottled without fining or filtration.
Winemaker Notes: On the nose, this wine initially shows a very surprising mineral element reminiscent of wet shale, accented with slight citrus high notes. Once open for a moment, the aromatics become more fruit driven, with notes of ripe pear, stone fruit, melon and a subtle hint of citrus blossom. On the palate, it is rich and unctuous, filling the mouth with excellent depth and weight. The fruit profile is consistent with the nose, with an added note of ripe Granny Smith apple. The finish is dominated by mouthwatering elements of peach and citrus, lingering on the palate.
Variety: Chardonnay (100%)
Clone / Selection: Wente
Harvest Dates: September 24th, 2016
Barrel-Aging: 10 months in 60-gallon French oak barrels (50% new)
- pH: 3.76
- TA: 5.4 grams/liter
- Alcohol: 14.2%
Bottled: August 30th, 2017
Cases Produced: 48