Sta. Rita Hills
For us 2006 was a stellar harvest. There was some variable ripeness because of a slow flowering but that issue was easily solved by careful thinning. Obviously every taster looks for something different, but for us the grapes came in with bright acidity as they did in 2005, and yet they expressed more personality, so we like the wines even better.
This chardonnay always turns out great, and with only half the fruit on the vines compared to 2005, it is one tightly strung and intensely flavored wine. Delicious right now with fish or shellfish, it has the potential to age into a real beauty if you give it eight years or so. All of our Clos Pepe chardonnays are still drinking well, even back to the first one made in 1999, but this year’s seems to be our most ageworthy chardonnay to date.
Winemaking wise we continue to barrel ferment and age the wines as in the past; however we are using fewer new barrels in the process–to better show off the distictive Clos Pepe personality. This wine went through the secondary malo-lactic fermentation and remained on its fermentation lees until bottling. It was bottled without filtration.
Blend: 100% Chardonnay | Alcohol: 14.0% | Vinification: 100% Neutral French Oak | Barrel Aging: 14 Months | Total Production: 277 cases
Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar
“Light, bright gold. Spicy, mineral-driven pear and candied citrus zest on the nose, with a wild note of botanical herbs adding complexity. Delivers serious flavor impact without excess weight, showing deep pear, white peach and tangerine qualities and a late note of anise. Finishes broad and precise, leaving sexy spice notes behind. Tolmach told me that 2006 was a vintage marked by “high acidity and low yields, which is very promising, especially since I never, ever add acid.” – JR 92 Points
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
Wine Advocate #184 Aug 2009
“More damp earth, white currant, pear, and cold steel characteristics, intermixed with a distinctive Burgundian earthiness, are found in the complex, medium to full-bodied 2006 Chardonnay Clos Pepe. A terroir-styled white, it can be enjoyed over the next 4-5 years. ” -RP 90 Points
Wine Advocate #180 Dec 2008
“Another earthy, terroir-driven wine is the 2006 Chardonnay Clos Pepe Vineyard. Pear, quince, nectarine, and white peach notes dominate the wine, but in the mouth, a wet, stony minerality comes forth, and the wine displays admirable richness, medium to full body, and good acidity. ” -RP 90 Points