2021 Chardonnay, Rita's Crown 750ML
Rita's Crown sits majestically above the famous Mt. Carmel monastery at some of the highest elevations in the Sta. Rita Hills (up to 850 feet). Our blocks are located on very steep, south and southwest facing hillsides of clay and silty clay loam with abundant diatomaceous earth. The mighty pacific sends daily fog and intense afternoon winds to this high elevation site, which is perched over the Santa Ynez River as it meanders toward its terminus at Surf Beach. The remoteness and wildness of the site is enhanced by the abandoned wreck of the former monastery, which gives off a feeling of some ancient place like Greece or Italy that is similarly dry, parched and hardscrabble. The wines are as intense as the legends that one conjures in his mind, the skins thick from all the wind, produce strong phenolics, and the dustry dry soil promotes intensity.
The Chardonnay in this block typically produces relatively low yields from a small canopy. In 2021 yields were a mere 3.4 tpa (this is the equivalent yield from one famous grower in Batard Montrachet). These lower yields and a long cool season result in ripeness at incredibly strong acid levels (in 2021 final, post ML pH was 3.34, with TA of 6.3).
The 2021 wine fermented by native yeasts in top quality French oak barrels, 43% new. The resulting wine went through native malolactic fermentation in barrel and was aged for 18 months on its lees, without stirring, before selection, blending and bottling.