Vineyard: Pioneers in the region, the Bacigalupi family played a key role in putting the California wine industry on the map, selling Chardonnay to Chateau Montelena for the wine that triumphed over top-flight white Burgundy at the 1976 Judgment of Paris tasting. The site benefits from cool air and fog channeled in from the Pacific, as well as the famously unique Goldridge loam soil – eroded volcanic material combined with sandstone and alluvial deposits.
Vintage: On the heels of a stressful 2017, growers and winemakers were thankful for a return to an uneventful but fruitful vintage in 2018. A cool spring started off the ideal growing season with a near-perfect fruit set in the spring, and summer temperatures were moderate with fewer heat spikes than the previous years. As a result, harvest started two to three weeks later than during the recent extended drought, but along a more historically typical timeline. The long hang times and even ripening yielded wines that show concentrated flavor and structure without being over-ripe.
Winemaking: Harvested by hand and whole-cluster pressed, the must settled into a concrete egg tank, where fermentation began spontaneously with wild yeast. While still fermenting, we racked the wine with its lees into French oak barrels – 50% new; 50% neutral – where primary finished and a full malolactic fermentation occurred naturally. The wine aged for 15 months in barrel before it was bottled unfined and unfiltered.