Santa Maria Valley
Botrytis is a mold that grows on grapes and is not that common in California. Usually when it appears it’s called bunch rot, because secondary infections of bacteria and less desirable molds get in there and turn the clusters into a vinegary mess. Rarely, when the right conditions prevail the botrytis grows and then weather conditions get dry and the botrytis, having poked tiny holes in the berries, causes them to raisin. As the berries raisin the sugars and acidity concentrate–when this happens in Europe it’s called the noble rot and is responsible for some of the finest dessert wines made. In 2006 these special conditions afflicted a small portion of the chardonnay clusters at Solomon Hills. Another buyer of chardonnay there did not want any botrytis in their grapes so we were able to pick the botrytis affected clusters ahead of their harvest and made two barrels of this wine. Aromatically the wine shows a lot of botrytis, a rich honeyed character that is quite alluring. From the aroma one expects the wine to taste quite sweet, and while it is sweet the high natural acidity gives it balance and delightful drink-ability. While I am not a huge fan of dessert wines, I find this special bottling quite fascinating.
Blend: 100% Chardonnay | Alcohol: 10.0% | Vinification: 100% Neutral French Oak | Barrel Aging: 7 Months | Total Production: 99 cases