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Uninterrupted fruit marks Sterling's 2008 Organic Chardonnay, which opens with Fuji apple, white peach and pineapple. Well-balanced oak appears in the guise of sweet vanilla custard, which softens the fruit intensity and holds the bright flavors through the palate. The finish is clean with pleasant citrus notes. Pair this straightforward Chardonnay with a grilled chicken salad or mixed seafood pasta.
To focus the clean varietal flavors, they used a light hand in winemaking, with minimal oak influence and no secondary (malolactic) fermentation. After a cool, night harvest, they fermented half of the wine in stainless steel at 55° F to retain the crisp bite of fruit, placing the remainder in oak barrels for a subtle hint of sweet vanilla and added depth and balance. Regular stirring of the lees contributed fullness and richness in the mouth. Partial oak aging (50 percent) for seven months brought complexity to the blend.
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