Nestled on a northeastern facing hillside on our Pine Ridge Estate and protected by the shade of the pine trees lies a very special 1.7 acre block of Chardonnay vines. Since the early 1980’s, we have cultivated this intimate space to produce one of the only Chardonnays in the Stags Leap District.
Le Petit Clos, “the little enclosure,” is tucked away in a unique location on our home estate. Sheltered from the heat in the shade of the iconic pine ridge, plantings of both Burgundian Dijon and Corton Charlemagne clones of Chardonnay thrive in this tiny block. These lower-yielding clones produce small, intensely flavored clusters and berries.
Harvest & Winemaking
The mild 2011 vintage allowed for a long hang time, resulting in evenly ripe, complex flavors in the berries. This vineyard was harvested in mid-September, then immediately pressed. The wine was fermented in 50% new French oak barrels, aged for seven months sur lie, and stirred occasionally to promote complexity. In order to preserve the true expression of this unique vineyard, malolactic fermentation was not allowed to occur.
Pale gold in color, our 2011 Le Petit Clos Chardonnay presents a luscious nose filled with the aromas of fuzzy yellow peach, baked golden apple and Meyer lemon preserves, surrounded by subtle white florals, baking spices and light coconut. The substantial, round palate enters with sweet lemon cream, grilled white peach and baked green pear, followed by impressions of toasty vanilla and lemon zest that last through the elegant finish.
This graceful yet lively Chardonnay is tremendously enjoyable alone as an apertif, but it also makes an excellent foil to a flavorful dish such as seared sea scallops with fried green tomatoes and cilantro aoli, or even a classic macaroni gratin. A gruyere fondue would partner well with this wine for an enjoyable cheese course.