Abundant rain fell in the winter of 2016-2017, which is always welcome given the region's increasing frequency of drought.
The vineyards are dry-farmed, resulting in water stress throughout the growing season. Given this farming method, the vines over decades take on an individual character in the vineyard. As one walks the rows, one can see that some are strong, some are weak, and many are just right. This vineyard diversity gives a “core” of energy to the wines.
Harvested in late August and early September, the team picked an average of 1.5 tons of grapes per acre. These low yields are an essential key to the quality: Infertile soils, windswept high mountain sites; and the heritage clone—taken from Burgundy 120 years ago. These all combine to make the Estate Chardonnay sing.
Barrel fermented with complete malolactic fermentation, the wine is aged on its lees for ten months in 50% new Burgundy barrels. This barrel regimen gives the wine weight. Apple blossom and honeysuckle aromas are the high notes with enticing mineral flavours forming the basis. The lengthy finish bodes well for a long evolution.
The 2017 Chardonnay Estate is beautifully expressed this vintage, scented of warm citrus, honeycomb and a singular undercurrent of spices. The palate is satiny with full, ripe fruit energized by bright freshness and mineral character, and the wines finishes very long, pure and uplifted. It improved slowly over several days and will benefit from time in the cellar or a long decant.
The 2017 Chardonnay melds together the natural raciness of the year with the classicism that is such a Mount Eden signature. Lemon confit, white flowers, mint and tropical accents give the 2017 its flashy, racy personality and yet on the palate the wine is quite structured and very nicely proportioned. The 2017 finishes with tremendous weight, oiliness and aromatic intensity. It can be enjoyed now or cellared for at least a few years. Today, it is absolutely fabulous. New oak is 50%.