UV-El Diablo Vineyard Chardonnay 2020
Senses Wines
Region: Sonoma

Tasting Notes

Honeysuckle, marzipan, ripe apple and peach on the nose. Complex flavours of buttered peach, apricot and pear mingle with almond and toast elements granted by the French oak. There is serious heft to this wine, but the trademark Senses balance is still there, with vibrant acidituy providing a counterpoint to the viscosity. Chill lightly and enjoy with a good book, or pair it with a turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

Chardonnay is the world’s most famous white-wine grape and also one of the most widely planted, with the most highly-regarded expressions of the variety coming from Burgundy and California. Climate plays a major role in dictating which fruit flavours a Chardonnay will have. Broadly speaking, warm regions such as California tend to give more tropical styles. While many Chardonnays have high aromatic complexity, this is usually due to winemaking techniques (particularly the use of oak) rather than the variety’s intrinsic qualities. Malolactic fermentation gives distinctive buttery aromas. Fermentation and/or maturation in oak barrels contributes notes of vanilla, smoke and hints of sweet spices such as clove and cinnamon. Extended lees contact while in barrel imparts biscuity, doughy flavours.

Sonoma Coast is one of California’s most notable wine regions. Despite the critical acclaim and steep price points these wines demand, there are only 10 wineries, with 2000 acres under vine, planted almost exclusively to Burgundy varietals Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The widely varying terroir here is less influenced by the cooling fog that rolls in through the Petaluma Gap than its northern counterpart, the Russian River Valley. Sonoma Coast climate is dictated by the area’s sheltered position between the hills, as well as its close proximity to San Pablo Bay to the south, which provides temperature moderation in the vineyard. The unique combination of maritime influence, elevation, lack of rainfall and varied soil types exists nowhere else on earth. The area closest to the ocean, with the strongest maritime influence, has recently been granted its own sub-appellation within the larger Sonoma Coast AVA: West Sonoma Coast.

El Diablo is a classic Russian River Vineyard, planted solely to Chardonnay (mainly the Wente clone). The soil is gravelly loam sitting on clay, which is helpful considering the lack of rainfall that has plagued California winemakers the past decade. Great pains are made to ensure all vineyard practices are sustainable.

Hand-harvested fruit, individual bunches selected, are brought in the cool of evening to the winery, to be pressed into a selection of favourite French oak barrels (up to 40% of it new) for a cold soak, followed by spontaneous fermentation. The wine spends 14 months in the oak, with regular lees stirring, before bottling, where it spends some time before release to mellow out and avoid any possible bottle shock.

Wine Type: White

Variety: Chardonnay

Classification: AVA

Orientation: N/A

Appellation: Sonoma County

Gradient: N/A

Soil: Sandy loam

Farming Practices: Sustainable

Residual Sugar: N/A

Alcohol: 14.6

Malolactic: Yes

Botte Size: 750 ml

Acidity: N/A

Other Practices: Sustainable