Sonoma County, California
Vineyard: Planted in 1974. Shallow volcanic soils on the gently-sloped, south-facing foothills of Bennett Peak on Bennett Valley’s floor. One of (if not the) coolest Chardonnay vineyards in Sonoma County. The vineyard’s latest ever harvest due to 2018’s particularly modest and consistent ripening curve.
Production: 150 cases
Grapes: 100% Chardonnay.
Hand harvested, at first light on November 1. In the winery, the grapes are whole-cluster pressed directly to barrel, no settling.
Fermented: Long and cool native fermentations, in barrel. Monthly battonage during malolactic fermentation.
Aging: 16 months in French oak barriques, two-thirds new. Racked to stainless steel tank 2 months before bottling. Bottled unfined, unfiltered.
Notes: Patience was the story at Simpatico Ranch in 2018. After Mother Nature delivered a perfect run of weather through September and October, the result was a singularly wonderful edition of this Chardonnay. A wine of crystalline purity, toe-walking across the palate on an energetic expression of honeydew melon, Meyer lemon and orange blossom; balanced by piercing minerality, distinct flintiness, and a kiss of sauvage; finished by an extended, kaleidoscopic unfurl towards the back of the palate.
Press: Jeb Dunnuck: “96 pts. Beautiful notes of ripe orchard fruits, toasted brioche, hazelnuts, and floral nuances flow to a richly textured, medium to full-bodied Chardonnay with a layered texture, integrated acidity, and a great finish. It’s another terrific wine from this estate. It opens up nicely with air and I suspect will evolve for 7-8 years, if not longer.”