2007 Chardonnay, Smith Ranch
Our 2007 Chardonnay came from the Smith Ranch in Dry Creek Valley. Located in the cooler, Southern end of the Valley, the vineyard was planted with the old Wente Chardonnay clone; preferred by winemakers because of its small flavorful berries. Following the French tradition, we barrel ferment the wine in a mix of 40% new and 60% one and two year old barrels. A secondary malolactic fermentation softens the high natural acidity and adds buttery complexities. This wine is rich and elegant, with aromas of orange blossoms, apples, pears, and toasty oak spice. In the mouth, it is soft and luscious, with ample acidity and a long complex finish. In 1980, I started as founding winemaker at fledgling Clos du Bois Wines, barrel-fermenting Chardonnay in a traditional French style that was virtually unknown in California at the time. Within 5 years, half of the area's Chardonnay was made using oak barrels, and by 1996, my last year at Kendall-Jackson, I supervised the production of 2.4 million cases using this method. Today, at Hawley, we make about 250.