2016 MATTHIASSON Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, Michael Mara Vineyard
Michael Mara Vineyard
The wine is 100 percent Chardonnay, clone 4 (the clone highest in natural acidity that we are aware of). It has the white peach, toasted almond or marshmallow, and ripe pear nose that is expected with Chardonnay, as well as plenty of weight, length, and richness. It is not showy, however — it’s incredible opulence is natural, not created in the cellar. It has a distinct core of rock dust, or ground oyster shell, which is the distinguishing characteristic of the vineyard.
This is a wine borne from blood, sweat, and tears. The dream of planting our own vineyard from scratch verged on nightmare as we struggled with the rockiest soil we’ve experienced in 20 years of working in vineyards. It almost put us out of business. The rocks were finally surmounted and the vineyard produced a crop, one that we ended up having to mostly sell to other wineries to cover the unanticipated expense of planting. We were able to hold a small amount of fruit back for ourselves. The effort of planting was consummated by making the wine. It was clearly worth it.
The fruit is picked in two batches. The first batch, 80% of the wine, is harvested very early, to capture the high natural acidity and maintain a moderate alcohol level. The second harvest, 20% of the wine, is harvested a little bit later, to capture the richness and power of the vineyard site. The fruit from each harvest is lightly whole-cluster-pressed, settled for 24 hours, then barrel fermented. The wine goes through 100% malolactic fermentation in older neutral barrels and a few new French oak barrels. It is given 18 months of barrel aging, with no topping or sulfur added until bottling. There is also no battonage — the wine rests on the gross lees undisturbed.
The pH is 3.38, the acidity is 5.9 g/l, and the alcohol is 13.3%. 273 cases were made.
*Summer heat is still blanketing much of the country. Upgraded 2-Day Air is available with additional fee. Fall shipping outside of CA will begin in October unless weather conditions change before then.