2014 Riva Ranch Chardonnay
"Our Riva Ranch Single Vineyard Chardonnay is a beautifully rich, yet balanced style of Chardonnay that represents what the Arroyo Seco appellation has to give. In addition to the classic Chardonnay aromas of apple and pear, Arroyo Seco consistently delivers aromas of tropical fruits and stone fruits. This is distinctly a California style of Chardonnay but is consistently well balanced with ample acidity." - Karl D. Wente, Fifth Generation Winemaker
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For five generations our family has been dedicated to the art of winemaking and to the philosophy that the quality of a wine originates in the vineyard. Our Riva Ranch Single Vineyard Chardonnay is sourced exclusively from our family’s Riva Ranch Vineyard in Arroyo Seco, Monterey. Arroyo Seco, where we have been growing since the 1960’s, is widely regarded as one of the best places in California to grow Chardonnay. The cool growing season with the deep gravelly soil ripen the Chardonnay perfectly which gives natural balance of sugar and acidity. Recognized as “California’s First Family of Chardonnay”, our family was the first in California to produce a varietally labeled Chardonnay made from our Wente clone. Today, many of the great Chardonnay vineyards in California are planted with the Wente clone which originated from our family’s estate. We farm the following clones for our Riva Ranch Chardonnay: 2A, Clone 4, Dijon clones 95, 96, 76 and Old Wente Heritage Clones. Each clone offers different flavors, textures and aromatics to the final blend. The 2014 vintage provided wonderfully complex wines that are textured and offer beautiful aromatic intensity.
To complement the rich fruit flavors, we barrel ferment about 90% of this wine in a combination of 60% new and 40% second use French and American oak barrels which adds notes of vanilla and spice and a softer, fuller mouthfeel. 10% is stainless steel fermented, preserving the natural vibrancy of the fruit. 100% malolactic fermentation.
The wine was aged sur lie for 10 months in the same French and American oak barrels. Batonnage, the art of stirring the barrels, is performed every two weeks. This adds a creamy note to the wine and enhances the texture.
- Gold, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, January 2016