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HMR is a celebrated vineyard in the Westside hills of Paso Robles. The anchor of this property is a historic planting of rare old vine Pinot Noir (35 acres) dating from 1964. It also includes a 5 acre block of Chardonnay, and a single acre of Gamay, bringing the total acreage under vine to 41. These Chardonnay vines are benchgrafts of the original HMR vines, dating from 1973. Moved in 2008 to a more conducive microclimate lower in the vineyard, the grafting technique renewed their unique genetic heritage. Facing south on a steeply sloping swale, it has a reduced sun exposure and is a collection area for the cooler air mass. Fourteen miles from the Pacific, afternoon intrusions of marine air promote a dramatic 40-50 degree diurnal temperature variation. Yields average only 1 ton/acre. In 2010 Adelaida achieved SIP Certification for our sustainable vineyard practices.
After the second year of healthy winter rains exceeding 30 inches, a rare April frost swept across the vineyards leaving new buds scorched from the Arctic-like air mass causing severe loss in the lower elevation vineyards. The cooler summer led to delays in ripening with a relatively late harvest beginning in mid-September. The regular chaos of harvest intensified when all 23 estate grape varietals reached maturity during an eight week period. The challenging harvest ended the first week of November.
A cool year by Paso standards, 2011 was an ideal vintage for Chardonnay. Optimal weather and use of third year neutral French oak gives the wine its Chablis-like personality of striking minerality accented by hints of green apple and lemon tart fruitiness. Fish mongers covet this mouth watering sense of salinity and citrus fruit. Drink now through 2015 (aged Chardonnay aficionados can hold till 2021).