We were very lucky to find this vineyard. Looking for a good source for chardonnay, one of our growers suggested Mike Arreguin, a vineyard manager in Mendocino County. When I talked with Mike, telling him that we were only looking for a few tons of fruit, he immediately suggested I talk with his father, Joel, who farms just a few acres of land. I have never seen such perfect fruit! Perfect little bunches of golden ripe chardonnay. It is a family run vineyard with sons, daughters and grand children helping during the harvest. Each year, these grapes turn into medal-winning wine.
Our production of chardonnay is traditional with the exception that we prefer neutral oak during barrel fermentation and that we inhibit malolactic fermentation as our goal is to emphasize the varietal expression of the chardonnay grape. Once the fermentation is complete, the lees is resuspended into the wine weekly. While the traditional method is to remove the bung and stir the lees, we have our barrels mounted on “upside-down roller skates.” So, we simply rotate the barrels upside-down the achieve the same effect of “battonage” without removing the bung, allowing oxygen access to the wine.