2014 Division Chardonnay 'Deux'
Harvest date: September 20th
Sugar at harvest: 22.5 degrees brix
Vineyards: Stangeland Vineyard (LIVE certified & dry farmed) - Eola-Amity Hills AVA
Aging: Whole cluster pressed grapes were left on skins in the press for 2 hours before being settled and native fermented in one neutral 228L Burgundy barrel. Primary fermentation lasted between 3 months and was never fined or filtered.
The Willamette Valley is typically one of the coolest and wettest major wine growing regions in the U.S, which clearly favors the delicate, but seemingly boundless potential of the Pinot Noir grape that seems to show its best on the fringes of suitable farming. While 2014 was not a cool and wet year, it was one of those extremely rare vintages where we experienced enough warmth throughout the season, as well as harvest time dry weather to bring in really amazing high quality grapes at the optimal moment!
We have been very fortunate to work with some of the best Chardonnay sites in the Willamette Valley and ecstatic this year when were able to add another old vine Chardonnay site with the old Draper selection Chardonnay planted on Stangeland Vineyards in 1978 by Larry Miller. He sold the fruit from the vineyard, at least the fruit he was able to get, which wasn’t much, until 1986 when he began using all of the estate vineyard grapes for the Stangeland brand. We became friends with Larry while working out of Methven and finally convinced him over a few years (and several bottles) that it would be great to see how another winemaker did with his fruit.
2014 was the year and Larry’s old vines performed amazingly in the warm vintage that was perfect for the older Chardonnay sites, which sometimes struggle to ripen in cooler years. The grapes were both vibrant, delicious and in perfect health! We were simply amazed and quickly knew that a potential first single vineyard Chardonnay was in the works for us—the problem was there just wasn’t much of it.
As is typical, we allowed the juice to spontaneously ferment with the native yeasts, or at the very least, those floating around the cellar! The fermentation was long and cool in two French oak Burgundy barrels. Minimal lees stirring was performed and as is typical with cool fermentations, they take a while with our Stangeland barrels finishing the primary fermentation in early March of 2015. The wine completed malolactic fermentation resulting in a nice balance of orchard, mostly pear, characteristics, some very delicate fresh butter like flavor from the lactic acid, as well as a nice amount of lemon and some tropical notes. The palate is bright, with perfect Old World style Chardonnay weight and we feel is very classic of the Chardonnays we love from France. Only one barrel of this wine was produced, so move quick to try our first and definitely not last single vineyard Chardonnay.