VINOUS 93 points
Light gold. Fresh, mineral-accented melon, pear and Meyer lemon aromas are complemented by suggestions of honey and toasty lees. Silky and appealingly sweet, showing very good focus and depth to the juicy citrus and orchard fruit and brioche flavors. A salty mineral nuance emerges on the penetrating finish, which clings with strong tenacity and persistent pear nectar and gingery spice notes.
Sight, smell, sensations, sweetness + savoriness:
Translucent neon green with a glimmer of antique rose-gold. Aromas start at white peach and oddly enough, move to freshly sliced button mushrooms then end up leaning toward toasted almonds in a bowl of crushed pineapple and nectarines. Entry starts out massive then moves to light, then back again to something approaching unctuousness followed by a light tingly sensation of fresh squeezed lemon in an iced glass of club soda. Add a small bowl of toasted and salted hazelnuts to the equation and THAT is what this wine is! Confounding Chardonnay to say the least. This wine gives a wide range of sensations at this point. After two plus hours, a more subdued Meursault-like Chardonnay ends up in your glass.
Very early bud break and consistently warm throughout the spring and summer, this was a warm vintage. We harvested this site the earliest ever on September 10th. I did this to maintain the acid level in the grapes as I detest doing any additions to my Chardonnay, and the last time I did any additions to my Chardonnay was 2009, when it was picked a bit late. If any of you have any of my 2009 Chardonnays, I would appreciate your feedback on how they are tasting currently.
Yates Conwill Vineyard – a stone’s throw from my place, meaning around a mile, but I can see it from my farm. In the Yamhill Carlton AVA. Sharing a fence line and mother material with Resonance Vineyard. A protected bowl with partial shading on the majority of the Chardonnay blocks. Well farmed by Results Partners. Consistently well-liked by my customers, the media and anyone who tries it, so perhaps it is the vineyard and not me.
This 2015 Yates Conwill Chardonnay was made in the same manner as all my Chardonnay since the 2011 vintage: Hard pressed into a settling tank where it resides without enzymes, yeasts or SO2 for a couple of days to let it get acclimated and oxidized. The tank is lifted via my “anti-gravity” machine to barrel filling level. A hose is then attached to let the wine flow into new French oak barrels up to the half full level. A bung is placed in the barrels and they are left in the corner to transform as I work on the Pinot noir for the next six plus weeks. At this point I need those new French oak barrels for my Pinot noir and in every one of these Chardonnay barrels, an individual fermentation is occurring at a rapid pace, looking like someone dropped in fifty Alka-Seltzer tablets into each barrel. I then use that “anti-gravity” machine again to lift the barrels and then drain each new French oak barrel of rapidly fermenting Chardonnay into neutral French oak puncheons of 400-liter capacity. The wine will continue to ferment in these barrels until ready to bottle. Seems to work pretty well. Several others have adopted this method to make their Chardonnay. Nice and simple if somewhat tedious. Then again, most things that take time end up being better things.
Titratable acidity 5.8 g/L
ethanol at 60F 14.24 % vol 7/15/16
Special Tip: DO NOT SERVE TOO COLD and please let these babies rest for at least four weeks to truly experience what this wine has to offer.
After sharing this wine with others at dinners across the nation, trading a few cases with my fellow winemakers for their Chardonnays in Oregon, California, Burgundy and Canada, as well as drinking a few myself here and there… I have 142 cases left out of the original 178 case made.