Vintage 2016
Wine Type White
Varietal Chardonnay
Region Alexander Valley
Winemaker Margo Van Staaveren
This reserve Chardonnay is a masterful expression of the Robert Young Vineyard’s finest fruit. It is barrel fermented and aged sur lie for an extended period of time in small French oak cooperage, then given one year of bottle age before release. It is an intensely flavored, richly textured wine that captures the essence of this highly acclaimed terroir.

Tasting Notes

Robert Young Chardonnay is recognizable for its full-bodied texture and creaminess, notable acid and minerality.  Aromas of white chocolate join Meyer lemon and lime, with flavors of ripe Anjou pear, rich lemon curd and hints of baking spice and honeysuckle.  Wonderful length and texture lead to a rich and memorable finish worthy of the Reserve designation.

Winemaking

After a 100% barrel fermentation and sur lie aging, individual barrels are tasted and those of great fruit intensity and texture are hand-selected to create the Reserve bottling. The wine ages in French oak barrels (30% new) for 15 months before bottling. The Chardonnay does not go through malolactic fermentation.  This vintage features the Robert Young clone from Blocks 9 and 22, along with Clone 76 from Blocks 10-11.  The wine is given extended bottle age before being released – a true Reserve

The Vineyard

The Robert Young Vineyard is found in north central Alexander Valley in northern Sonoma County. Chardonnay vines are in rich, alluvial clay soils. Robert Young used the best clonal selections from his original plantings of the Wente clone, creating a unique clone well suited to this vineyard.  The clone was certified in 1989 (it is also known as Clone 17) and has been used by other producers to create memorable Chardonnay.  This became the first vineyard designated Chardonnay in California. Winemaker Margo Van Staaveren hand-selects individual barrels that show the greatest fruit intensity and the purest representation of the Robert Young Vineyard site to create this Reserve expression.

Vintage Notes

The extended drought caused concern as the 2016 growing season began, but welcomed winter rain hinted at the relief to come. After a relatively dry January significant rainfall arrived in February, along with mild temperatures. Bud break was early, but was slowed by heavy April showers. While still early by historical standards, picking began about a week later than 2015, in mid-September. A traditionally sized harvest followed the lighter vintage of 2015, and the extended mild season helped balance the acids and add complexity to the fruit.
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