The Lolonis family immigrated from Greece in 1901 and settled here in Redwood Valley as dairy farmers. It wasn’t until WWII when their son was in the war and sending home his paychecks that the family was able to invest in planting vines. This bottling of Chardonnay comes from the oldest vineyard portion of the property. Planted in the winter of 1946-47, this is the second oldest Chardonnay planting in California (the oldest is a year older and located in Napa).
This vineyard has been farmed organically since the beginning and is certified by CCOF. This old vine Chardonnay block is dry farmed and produces exceptionally small yields of beautiful quality.
The 2021 vintage saw a continuation of California’s extreme draught conditions and yields in this dry-farmed old vine block were one-third of normal. With incredibly small clusters and thick skins with concentrated flavor, I chose to press the grapes with a bit more pressure than usual. With so much less juice, the goal of pressing hard was to extract all of the flavor and complexity concentrated in the skins without extracting bitterness. To prevent this, I tasted continually throughout the later press cycles to cut the press at just the right moment. I always press my whites whole cluster.
After pressing, the must is left to settle overnight to allow the largest solids in suspension to drop out (the bourbes). These solids are usually comprised of things like dust, small bits of stem, pectins, and other dense particles. The following day, I move the cleaner juice suspended above the bourbes into used French oak barrel.
After several days, native fermentation begins. Once primary fermentation has peaked and begins to slow down, I consolidate the wine into fewer barrels to minimize the amount of barrel headspace and oxygen exposure. One of the barrels goes to stainless steel, and this barrel is then used to keep the others topped throughout aging. Malolactic fermentation took an exceptionally long time to complete in 2021, with the 2022 vintage of Lolonis Chardonnay finishing before 2021. I used finished 2022 wine to complete secondary fermentation in 2021. All told, the 2021 vintage remained on its fine lees for 15 months before bottling.
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