Steven Kent Merrillie Chardonnay 2016, Mission Ranch, Arroyo Seco
The Mirassou family – the oldest winemaking family in the United States – have been pioneers in a number of important ways. One of the most relevant in terms of this new Chardonnay release is that they were the first family to plant vineyards in modern-day Monterey County in 1961. Aged on the lees for about 10 months and barrel-fermented in about 50% new French oak, three sub-lots of Chardonnay were blended and bottled without filtration or fining. Each sub-lot (of roughly equal size) was fermented with a different yeast regimen. For one portion we did “native” fermentation (letting the ambient yeast environment ferment the must) while the other lots were fermented with one of our favored cultured
yeasts: CY-3079 and QA23. Each lot was wonderfully individualistic, differing in flavor, aroma, and texture. Together, they created a wine of finesse and elegance; mouth-filling richness underscored by precise, length-producing acidity.
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