2015 Estate Chardonnay
"The nose conjures ripe lemons with hints of lime flesh and pomelo rind spiced by a faint dusting of powdered ginger and a distant rosemary sprig..."
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BY WINEMAKER FREDRIK JOHANSSON
2015 was yet another superb growing season despite some of the challenges we faced with periods of high heat and low humidity. Another warm and dry winter lead to what is becoming the normal ‘early’ budbreak which was primed and boosted by fortuitously timed February rains. The return to warm and dry early spring pushed us through flower and fruit set before the cool spell that affected others, so we saw healthy and normal yields which were left higher in the Chardonnay blocks to mitigate what we expected to be a warm summer and to continue our stylistic migration toward more freshness and brightness in these wines. The heat train was indeed full steam ahead throughout the summer giving us yet another early start to and compact window for the Estate Chardonnay harvest beginning 6 days earlier than in 2014 but extending throughout the remainder of August and into early September. The grapes were picked in the cool early mornings to maintain their freshness, natural acidity and delicate flavors. We utilize traditional Burgundian winemaking techniques, while respecting the unique quality of the fruit our vineyard delivers. The grapes are hand sorted, whole cluster pressed and then barrel-fermented. We nearly completely restricted malo-lactic fermentation to preserve acidity and crispness, but chose to allow a small percentage to go through it for a bit of increased texture and to balance the slightly higher acids. Finally, we aged this wine on its lees for ten months in a roughly equal parts ‘regular’ and large format barrels again with regular ‘batonnage’ during the first seven months only in the regular format barrels to optimize the aromatic freshness of the wines.
The translucently gold 2015 Salus Chardonnay is a model of balance and class that wonderfully showcases the interplay between the inherent concentration from our Rutherford location with the cut and verve that comes from our early picks and restricted malolactic fermentation. The nose conjures ripe lemons with hints of lime flesh and pomelo rind spiced by a faint dusting of powdered ginger and a distant rosemary sprig. Like a bobsled, the palate just glides… both weighty and sleek while riding a clean, crisp and refreshing edge.
Release Date: October 1, 2016
Harvest Dates: August 15 - September 11, 2015
Fermentation: 100% Barrel Fermentation
Barrel Aging: 10 months
Oak: 51% new, 49% used
Blend: 100% Chardonnay