2015 Durell Vineyard Chardonnay
This 2015 vintage Chardonnay is the purest, most expressive wine that we have ever produced from this iconic vineyard. The small clusters and tiny berries developed intense flavors very early on in the ripening process so we decided to pick right when the flavors peaked and acidity was crisp and fresh. The expressive nose exudes aromas of toasted hazelnut, lemon zest, white peach and flower petals, with an underlying flintiness that suggests a savory wine. Rich, round and slightly nutty on entry, the mineral-driven palate unfolds with flavors of limestone, quince, Meyer lemon, earth and spice. This wine is superbly textured and resonates with perfectly focused acidity before fanning out into a rich and citrusy, honeyed finish.
Durell Vineyard is situated on a 200-acre lot that bisects the Sonoma Valley, Sonoma Coast and Carneros AVAs. The Pacific Ocean is just 30 miles to the west, the northern stretches of San Francisco Bay 10 miles south, and a 2400-foot mountain range hovers immediately north. The site is in a cold, wet spot, with hard, rocky, clay soil and is planted to old Wente selection, all of which contribute to very low yields and intense, concentrated fruit flavors with lower acidity than many of the Russian River Valley Chardonnays. The rocky soil of Durell is derived from volcanic parent material known as basalt, which has a low concentration of magnesium but very rich in minerals, ideal for cultivating premium luxury-brand grapes. The gentle slopes of Durell sit on the very interface of the valley floor and the higher coastal hill country. Durell gets the last bit of fog that clings to the hills before it dissipates over the remainder of the valley. Conversely, as a benefit, the vineyard gets some of the warmth and heat from the valley floor in the same exact areas. This combination of cool mornings, breezy afternoons and warmer days through the summer months are the best conditions for steady ripening.