2016 Chardonnay, Rita’s Crown Vineyard
Rita’s Crown is a spectacular vineyard at some of the highest elevations in the Santa Rita Hills. Located right above the historic Mount Carmel monastery, our chardonnay block is incredibly steep and windswept. The block faces south/southwest and has an incredible view of much of the notable, even famous vineyards along Santa Rosa Road. Up here, one feels a certain indescribable timelessness. Soils here are sand and clay loam, with large deposits of diatomaceous earth, giving the sand a ghostly white color and reflecting heat off the ground. The winds are constant and strong, with a feeling of saltiness from the nearby ocean and a decided marine chill. Chardonnay from the site struggles to grow, though we have been able to coax a reasonable canopy and a small yield of intensely flavored grapes. A strong sensation of minerals and chalk seems to permeate the resulting wines, despite their intense tropical and stone fruits and laser-like acidity. The wines are dramatic and expressive here, with a tremendously long finish. The 2016 wine was harvested in two separate passes and each fermented separately in French oak barrels, 20% new. The resulting wine went through partial malolactic fermentation in barrel and was then aged for 17 months on its lees, without stirring, before selection, blending and bottling. Extremely Limited. Only 290 cases produced.