BY WINEMAKER FREDRIK JOHANSSON
2014 was another fantastic growing season. After one of the warmest and driest winters on record, as expected, budbreak was early, even earlier than 2013. Though offset by judiciously timed February rains, the continued drought conditions limited vigor in the vines, promoting balanced and compact growth. Some cool days in early May contributed to a fruit set that was a bit off the pace of the previous two vintages with yields almost 10% lower. Though generally an earlier season, the Chardonnay harvest began 4 days later than in 2013, but nearly all of the fruit was picked off of the Estate by the end of August, almost a full week earlier. 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 almost completely restricted malo-lactic fermentation to preserve acidity and crispness, this year allowing only a small percentage to go through it for a bit of increased complexity and texture. Finally, we aged this wine on its lees for ten months in a combination of regular and large format barrels with weekly ‘batonnage’ during the first seven months only in the regular format barrels with an eye to optimizing the aromatic freshness of the wines.
The straw colored 2014 Salus Chardonnay opens with a bright nose of citrus zest, young pineapple and white, waxy tropical flowers floating over freshly whipped cream speckled with shaved almonds. Flavors of lemon chiffon, D'Anjou pear and fleshy ripe cantaloupe teased with frangipane cascade across the palate, which remains pure and precise while exhibiting a delightful interplay of richness and acidity – unctuous, racy and delightful!