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Chalone Vineyard Gavilan Chardonnay 2012


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Bright, fresh and fruit-focused, 2012 Gavilan Chardonnay reveals a delightful array of white flower, peach, pear and citrus notes.

Winery Notes

Bright, fresh and fruit focused, our 2012 Gavilan Chardonnay reveals a delightful array of white flower, peach, pear and citrus notes. Hints of minerality come from the limestone soils, while the oak nuances and silky texture were developed during barrel fermentation and sur lie aging. Both the selection of vines and the near-perfect 2012 growing season gave this wine its pure, generous expression of fruit character. Our Chardonnay’s crisp, beautifully balanced flavors pair nicely with roasted chicken with garlicky mashed potatoes; calamari with basil aioli; wild prawns over angel hair pasta; herb-crusted sea bass; or crab cakes with butter lettuce, cucumber and red onion.

Vineyard: Many years ago we produced a Gavilan tier of Chalone wines and, by popular demand, we are bringing it back. As before, the Gavilan wines are created primarily from young vines and vines grafted to specific Chardonnay Dijon clones that produce fruity, approachable wines. The wine’s crisp, balanced acidity comes from the diurnal temperature swings (warm days and cold nights) and cool winds found in the Chalone American Viticultural Area (AVA), while the ripe flavors are the result of the intense sunshine.

Winemaking: To preserve vibrant fruit character and acidity, we hand harvested the Chardonnay at night and immediately pressed the whole clusters. We barrel fermented all of the juice in French and Hungarian oak for layers of complexity, and then allowed 70 percent of the wine to complete malolactic fermentation to round the acidity. Stirring of the yeast during barrel aging (sur lie) enhanced the lovely, silky mouthfeel and integrated the flavors.

Vintage: The 2012 vintage was just about perfect. The growing season began with a frost-free spring and excellent conditions for flowering and berry set. The resulting normal-sized crop was welcomed after the very small yields in 2011. The clusters ripened slowly and evenly through summer’s moderate temperatures, which led to exceptionally ripe, fruit flavors. Culminating a steady, relaxed crush season, we picked our last grapes in late October.

Alcohol: 14.5%