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Chardonnay HMR 2016
HMR Vineyard
from the historic HMR vineyard
 Case of 12

Aroma - Lemon zest, ripe melon, fresh baked bread, crushed seashells

Flavor - Lemon meringue, honeydew melon, brioche-croissant breakfast breads, sea spray

One sniff and you will be hooked! Our small block of Chardonnay was carefully handpicked, fermented and aged in 85% neutral barrels, 10% new French oak barrels and 5% in one stainless steel barrel for 8 months. Lemon, melon, honeysuckle, brioche with a smooth and silky fresh finish. Drink through 2019.

Tasting Notes

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are varieties associated with northern climates, i.e. Burgundy, France, Oregon’s Willamette Valley and specific cooler coastal areas in California. Consider these differences: Burgundy is at 46.5 degrees latitude (think Switzerland) vs Paso Robles at 35.5 degrees (comparable to Algeria and Tunisia in North Africa). Typically cooler climates produce lighter bodied, subtle flavored low alcohol wines and warm climates (closer to the equator) produce full bodied, more extracted fruit flavors. Set in a protected hillside valley and bathed by afternoon and evening blasts of cool fog-laden winds from the nearby Pacific Ocean this Estate mountain vineyard (at 1600 feet of elevation) defies this conventional wisdom of vine terroir. Based on original plant material in our HMR Vineyard (from 1973) and relocated 100 yards to its present white-wine-appropriate-site (now 10 years old) these vines are into their prime of development, showing all the nuance of their heritage and limestone soil. Adelaida’s 4 acres of Chardonnay lies in a sheltered swale of the Santa Lucia Range, some 14 miles from the cooling breezes of the Pacific coast. Overcoming the fourth year of low rainfall 2015 proved the axiom “location, location, location”. This mountain micro-climate lies in a newly minted sub-appellation, known as the Adelaida District, distinguished by its rare chalk-rock soils, a much sought after element for white wine, imparting a mineral-like quality. A minimalist watering regime called “deficit irrigation” added a further measure of stress to vine growth enhancing fruit quality. Grapes were harvested in late August, hand sorted, whole cluster pressed and fermented on indigenous yeast in mostly neutral oak barrels. Maintained for 10 months in these previously used barrels the wine was stirred occasionally, a technique known as “battonage”, which moves the spent yeast cells through the wine, adding a sense of brioche-like richness to the crisp edged fruit. The finished wine included small additions of stainless barrels and new oak adding contrasts of bright fruit based acidity and toasted wood elements. Characterized by its distinctive lemon zestiness, the wine opens to a mid-palate of lush honeydew melon-brioche-like richness with a persistence of its underlying crushed stone minerality. Drink now through 2020.

Professional Reviews

Food Pairings

Shrimp Scampi, Dungeness Crab and Avocado Salad, Chicken breast Saltimbocca (with sage and prosciutto).

Vineyard Notes

Hoffman Mountain Ranch (HMR) is a celebrated vineyard in the hills of Paso Robles' Adelaida District. The anchor of this property is a historic planting of rare, old vine Pinot Noir (34 acres) dating back to 1964. It also includes a four-acre block of Chardonnay, added in 1973, and a single acre of Gamay, bringing the total to 39 acres. This pioneering old vineyard has proven successful for Burgundian varieties because of its unique microclimate, 10-15 degrees cooler than surrounding sites. Facing south on a steeply sloping swale, it has reduced sun exposure and is a collection area for the cooler air mass. Its location, only 14 miles from the Pacific, accentuates afternoon intrusions of marine air, promoting a dramatic 40-50 degree diurnal temperature variation. The vines struggle in devigorating calcareous shale sub soils in the rolling mountain terrain at between 1,600 and 1,725 feet of elevation. The diverse landscape of ridge tops, rocky slopes, and natural depressions produces a complex set of aromatics and subtle flavors. The pinot noir vine spacing is traditional 1960s style, 8 feet between vines and 12 feet between rows, 519 vines/acre. On their own roots, the vines are now drip irrigated and trained to a vertical shoot positioning system with trellises running in an east to west orientation. Yields average only 1 ton/acre. Lacking a clonal attribution, the vine diversity is a selection of the best performing clones of the day, now referred to as the “HMR Selection”.

Vintage Notes

Stay tuned—customer wine reviews coming soon.
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