Award-winning wine writer and editor Linda Murphy and winemakers discuss the tastes and conditions that produced exceptional Chardonnays.Award-winning wine writer and editor Linda Murphy and winemakers discuss the tastes and conditions that produced exceptional Chardonnays.
[MUSIC] Here our next wine is Kirby Anderson from Gainey. He's showing us his 2004 Santa Rita Hills Limited Selection Chardonnay. What is it about Santa Rita Hills that's unique. The Appalachian used to be under water. Used to be under the ocean and the remnants of that are still visible. One of our favorite vineyards that we buy grapes from Actually looks like the beach, but what does that sand do? It retards the growth of the vine, because it's not very fertile. What other factors impact the vine there? Bracingly chilly sea breezes Morning fog afternoon fog all these things keep the vine in check to produce fantastic fruit. The wine that you're gonna taste today is a blend so we put the wine 100% through milolactic to help soften the wine and to hopefully provide a little bit of creepiness That is the objective for the wine is to provide a wine that is lush, plush but also has a cleansing bright acidity to accompany that characteristic. I use very little new wood. Probably about 1/3rd of the oak. The wines are blended in summer, then reassembled in the tank and put back to barrel to age further in barrel. Through harvest, and are bottled the following January or February. Okay, our last wine is the Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch 2005 Carneros Chardonnay. I'll be speaking to this wine Wine. This particular wine is interesting in that it's come from Carneros. It's a cool climate, so you get some nice bright fruit, yet some clean acidity. This wine has always been barrel fermented, so not in tank. Fermented all in barrel. And then barrel aged. But this year, he fermented 25% in stainless steel barrels to retain some crispness, to reduce a little bit of the wood tannin, and And the toastiness you might get from wood, but what he also does, and one of the speakers talked about, lees. Yeah about lees. Lees are basically the dead yeast cells. So after you go through fermentation, those yeast cells have to go somewhere and they tend to settle at the bottom of the barrel. Well wine makers talk about stirring those lees. It's called sur lie. To get those dead yeast cells in the mix with the wine, which adds some creaminess, some texture, some body, and sometimes some buttery characteristics when overdone. So Elias Fernandez has gone to stirring the leaves in a stainless steel barrel, just Just to maintain some crispness and some acidity so you see these winemakers don't stick to formula. They're always experimenting. They're always trying something new. And, at the end of the day, I would hope that if I have a Chardonnay in front of me, it's one that I can drink with my meal, it's gonna be refreshing and cleanse my palette and not be too cloying and some are are actually sweet. I mean, sweet to the taste. So the Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Has zero melloactic just like the Saint Jane. It is what it is. It's bright and clean and crisp the natural way. And I'm pleased that they sent the wine. [MUSIC]