2015 Division Chardonnay 'Un'
2015 Division Chardonnay “Un” Willamette Valley AVA
2015 proved to be an important one for Chardonnay—with plantings of new vines surpassing Pinot Noir in the Willamette Valley (Chardonnay fans rejoice!) This vintage also proved to be the driest and hottest on record in the Pacific Northwest - a benchmark we can’t help but attribute to our changing global climate. Thankfully, the hottest year ever in Oregon is still well within the boundaries of growing world class Chardonnay, especially with the diversity of clones, elevations, microclimates and ages of vineyards that are found here, and that we are fortunate to work with!
We were ecstatic this year when we were able to once again partner with two old vine Chardonnay sites, Draper selection Stangeland Vineyards (1978 planting) in the Eola-Amity Hills, and Biodynamic grown Davis 108 Cooper Mountain Vineyards (1978 planting). We also continue to work with another Biodynamic site, Dijon 76 Johan Vineyards, to add to the mix with Methven Family Vineyards (LIVE Certified) Dijon 76 clone Chardonnay. The warm vintage was perfect for the old vine sites, which struggle to ripen in cooler years. They were both richer than years past, but still vibrant, delicious and in perfect health! The two Dijon sites were golden ripe, but coming of the knowledge gained in warm 2014 we picked a bit earlier to the result of nice acidity.
This year, we utilized the pied de cuve (native yeast) build up, a technique that we have always used for the red ferments and are now expanding into our white lineup. We had fantastic success with this method for the Chardonnay sites this year, which led to a gorgeously complex final wine. The fermentation was long and cool in seven French oak Burgundy barrels, including one new "Aquaflex" barrel, a water bent barrel designed to restrain oak flavor impact without losing valuable tannin and numerous compounds that enhance structure and elegance, and a single one-year old 500L Puncheon—large format and Chardonnay are a killer combo! As typical with cool fermentations, they take a while—the Johan barrels finished first in January of 2015 and the others trickled, with last but not least, the Cooper Mountain Chardonnay finishing up in September 2016!
The 2015 Chardonnay “Un” completed malolactic fermentation resulting in a nice balance of citrus and the ever present saline notes in our wines, layered with orchard characteristics and some very delicate "sweet cream" like flavor from the lactic acid. The 2014 Division Chardonnay “Un” brings a nice amount of richness from the vintage, which is balanced with acidity and full phenolic flavors. We are quite pleased with the result from the very hot year and believe the wine will be perfect for enjoying on the table for the next few years!
Alc - 13.1%, pH 3.36, 175 cases