It was clear something was different with the 2019 harvest when fruit flies were spotted at Thistle Vineyard over Labor Day Weekend. The second sign was the dramatic shift in the weather forecast. At the end of August, we believed we would have a “warmer and drier” than average September/October. Sounds good huh?!?!? Then, at the end of September we got 2.7” of rain... which is double the average, and we had one of the coolest Septembers on record. We remembered and applied the key learnings from prior similar vintages in our approach to the 2019 harvest – get the grapes as ripe as possible with as little fruit degradation as possible. Even with a longer hang time this year the grapes had less sugar, high pHs and high acids. Consequently, we based our picking decision more on the taste of the juice and looking at the weather. We had 5 distinct rain events from when we started harvest on September 3 to when we ended picking on October 10th, and these individual rain events sometimes lasted multiple days. In the end, we got as much ripeness as possible and are very happy about what we put into barrel.
The grapes for our Chardonnay were hand harvested in late September from two vineyards in the DundeeHills, Thistle Vineyard and Anderson Vineyard. The grapes were pressed whole cluster with no additional time for skin contact. The wine was then fermented in both our concrete egg (20%) and oak barrels (80%), with only 20% new oak. Our Chardonnay only saw a partial malolactic fermentation to maintain its bright fruit notes. The wine was aged for 10 months in the oak and concrete before being blended and left to harmonize for an additional 3 months in a stainless steel tank.
Our 2019 Dundee Hills Estate Chardonnay has notes of candied lemon peel, yellow apple, and honeydew, as well as vanilla and yellow flowers. On the palate, the yellow apple remains, but the lemon evolves to Meyer lemon zest, and the honeydew becomes more like cantaloupe. Additionally, there is a delightful note of vanilla and butter on the palate to round it out.
This wine pairs beautifully with baked halibut, shrimp scampi, and crab cakes with bearnaise sauce.
2018 - (93) James Suckling, (91) VinePair, (90) Wine Spectator, (90) Wine Enthusiast