Block 92, Estate Vineyard
Los Carneros, Napa Valley
Club Price $48.00
Available online only. Less than 2 cases remain!
Distinctive notes of citrus and a hint of jasmine and orange blossom are followed by similar flavors of citrus and stone fruit. It is a full bodied Chardonnay that is well balanced, offers bright acidity and careful oak integration. The wine will age gracefully and develop more complexity over time in the bottle.
560 cases producedDownload tech sheetGold Medal, 2016 American Fine Wine Invitational
Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay
Technical Data: 14.5% by vol.; RS: 0.05%; TA: 5.3 G/L; pH: 3.62
Cooperage: Fermented and aged 9 months in 75% new French Oak barrels
We hand harvested our block 92 grapes during the night, to guarantee the grapes get picked at cooler temperatures. This will benefit the grape quality, as it translates into higher quality fruit (allowing for better acid, sugar levels, as well as aromatics). The grapes were whole cluster pressed using a slow champagne cycle that gently pushes the must rendering clean juice but few solids. Winemaker Ana Diogo-Draper placed 100% of the juice into French oak barrels (75% new) specifically coopered for Artesa. We place the barrels in a specially designed igloo, in our Barrel Room, so juice ferments at a low temperature. This technique allows us to retain the highly volatile aroma components, and therefore, produce a wine that has an intense aromatic profile. After primary fermentation, the majority of the wine went through malolactic fermentation (50% of the lot), and then aged on its lees for a full 9 months, with twice weekly lees stirring. The wines were tasted weekly and racked once prior to bottling.
The majority of the sections of Artesas Block 92 Chardonnay were planted in 1992 and hang on a south facing hillside overlooking the winery. This site is very unique in Carneros for two reasons: elevation & soil type. The southern exposure allows the grapes to ripen fully while retaining their natural acidity. The soils (Bressa-Dibble) are light textured silt loam and different from the common Carneros soils that are known as shallow, heavy clay. This unique terroir provides high drainage capacity and regulates vine vigor. The 20+ year old vines produce aromatic, highly concentrated grapes which express their place of origin with distinct minerality. Among the clone selections are the Wente and Clone 4. The Clone 4 is perfectly suited to foggy mornings and hot sunny summers. It provides fruit of great quality that retains acidity and intense flavors. The Wente clone gives us fruit that offers unique richness and concentration along with vibrant acidity and depth.
In the beginning of our growing season, the drought was a main concern. The 2013/2014 winter was one of the driest on record in California and rainfall totals in the Napa Valley were approximately half of normal. However, the timing of the late rains through February and April let our vineyard team relax a little as the vines received a much needed drink of water as they were emerging from dormancy and about to begin bud break. This rainfall recharged our soil and provided enough water to fill the reservoirs. Furthermore, the spring was warm allowing us to save water if needed for irrigation rather than using it for frost protection. As summer began, our vineyards already had full canopies and full clusters. Veraison, when the skins of the grapes change color, typically occurs in late July; but this year we saw the changing color occur much sooner. And finally, while the vines used for high-quality wine production generally dont need much water, a benefit of the drought is that berry sizes are typically smaller and have more concentrated flavors, which our winemaker believes contributes to the overall quality of this years harvest.