2014 Sonoma Cutrer The Cutrer Chardonnay
OBSERVATIONS ON A VINTAGE
2014 was another incredibly dry year with the formal declaration of a California drought. We were able to make it through the season without water shortages in the vineyards by using deficit irrigation concepts and careful analysis of soil and plant moisture data. Throughout most of the growing season, we paced about two weeks earlier than a typical season, including another classic California spring and summer without any weather extremes. We also anticipated an early harvest until the arrival of significant fog and a late summer cool down. Harvest began a little earlier than normal on August 22. Warming and cooling trends over the next couple weeks brought harvest into full swing. A two-week flurry of harvest followed and the last grapes trickled in on October 1. Harvest 2014 delivered another beautiful Russian River Valley vintage.
ON THE VINEYARD
Located in the heart of the famous Russian River Valley, the Cutrer Vineyard soil rests on an ancient seabed that retains heat throughout the day and into the early evening, radiating that heat up to the closely spaced vines. The Cutrer Vineyard is multi-faceted, with microclimates throughout the vineyard. The soil characteristics, varied rootstocks, and diverse clones interact with the climate & soil to create different nuances in each block of the vineyard, giving the winemakers a virtual spice rack of flavors to create the wines.
ON THE WINE
Grapes were hand-harvested at night into shallow bins and then cooled down to 50°F to preserve the fruit’s fresh flavors and natural acidity. The grapes were whole-cluster pressed and the cool, clear golden-green, free-run juice settled naturally for a few days before heading to French oak barrels for fermentation. The Cutrer is 100% barrel-fermented and aged five months sur-lies. The barrels were stirred and topped weekly. After aging in the newer French oak barrels for five months, the wine was racked to blend and placed into three-year-old French oak barrels for another eight months of maturation. The wine was then bottled and allowed to bottle-age before release.
This wine is richly textured with a lovely mid-palate creamy richness and bright acidity that leads to a finish with a long richness of flavor. There are complex aromas of caramel, roasted nuts, honey, fresh Bosc pear, ripe peach, nectarine, and honeydew melon accented with nougat, brown sugar, baking spice, and red apple. Flavors of peach, apple, and crème brulee mingle with hints of butterscotch, caramel, warm pie crust, and baked apple with touches of light vanilla and oak spice.
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Bottles are in perfect condition.