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Founder, Rod Strong, planted chardonnay in their original Chalk Hill Vineyard in 1965, and later spearheaded the establishment of the Chalk Hill Viticultural Area in 1983. He recognized the region as distinct from the rest of Russian River Valley for its unique chalky white soils, which impart a subtle mineral character to wines grown there.
The 2006 vintage began with a rather late bud break during an unseasonably cool and wet spring. March rains slowed shoot growth down considerably, and set the timer for a late harvest. After a fine May and June, much of July was a scorcher, including a 10 day stretch where every day saw temperatures over 90 degrees, and several days topped out at 110! Fortunately, the delayed development of the grapes kept sun scorch to a minimum. Harvest began the second week of September, and continued all the way into mid October. This extended ripening period was accompanied by mild weather and promoted excellent flavor development, with the last of the chardonnay harvested on October 14th.
Barrel fermentation in new and seasoned French oak added toasty vanilla and spice complexities, and during 10 months of barrel ageing, we regularly stirred the “lees” in barrel, which gives a certain fullness and creamy texture on the palate. Encouraging malolactic fermentation added additional character, and in the glass the wine is both creamy and crisp, with abundant fruit character, mineral, and toasty oak flavors. Enjoy over the next 1-3 years.
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