2011 Chardonnay Los Alamos Vineyard
These grapes are grown at the top wind-swept slopes of the rolling Solomon Hills in Los Alamos. On this hilltop the wind and shallower soils keep the yields low and the grapes struggle to ripen. These hardy vines produce grapes with concentration.
Au Bon Climat and Los Alamos Vineyard share a lot of history. The first Au Bon Climat winery was a small barn on the Los Alamos Vineyard property. That was in 1982. The vineyard is managed by Tavo Acosta, one of the new generation of viticulturists in the Santa Maria area motivated to grow the best grapes to make the best wine and they drink wine, too. This newer farming is more hands on and expensive than the earlier methods, but the quality difference is huge.
We have been making this Historic Vineyard Collection Chardonnay wine for 7 years and this is always intense and upfront. After harvesting the grapes by hand, the grapes were gently pressed and then fermented in 75% new French oak and aged surlee in these same barrels for another year. The charred vanillin components from the barrel mesh nicely with the salty citrus in the aromas and flavors. While being unctuous in the aromas the perception in the mouth is young and lively. This wine will get more interesting as it ages for another 5 years or so. This Chardonnay will be delicious with any grilled white meat.