Etude’s Heirloom Chardonnay, produced from several heirloom selections of the variety, is dedicated to the celebration and preservation of plant diversity. It exemplifies the singular, superior wines – unusually expressive, concentrated and pure – that issue from original varieties or vine selections chosen for the inherent wine quality they produce.
”The 2018 Chardonnay Estate Heirloom comes from a block planted to a suitcase clone. It went through spontaneous fermentation and malolactic in neutral French oak barrel. The nose is subtle and understated, revealing notes of lemon curd, white peach and orange blossoms with hints of marzipan and baker's yeast. The medium-bodied palate is delicately played with beautiful poise and well-knit freshness, finishing on a lingering savory note. 200 cases were made.” - Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW
“Crisp and well-structured, with a juicy savoriness to the kumquat, ripe apple and melon flavors that are fleshy and well-spiced, with toasty accents on the finish. Drink now through 2024. 200 cases made.” - Kim Marcus, July 31, 2021
Only produced in the finest years, our 2018 Heirloom Chardonnay is rich, warm and inviting, exhibiting aromas of bright Meyer lemon, golden delicious apple, vanilla crème and toasted almond. The fruit is vibrant and fresh, showcasing zippy citrus fruit, warm lemon curd and apple custard. The acidity remains persistent throughout and provides a lean backbone and presence to the rounded, viscous texture, a component of the lees stirring during maturation in barrel, leading to a long mouthwatering juicy finish.
2018 is considered a near perfect season, a very welcomed harvest season after several tense vintages, beginning with abundant February rains followed by drying sun and weather that allowed for even flowering and bud break. The slightly later start was followed by consistently ideal weather, with harvest in mid-September. Generally normal to heavier fruit with amazing flavor and complexity will be the hallmark of the season.
Planted during the initial development of the Grace Benoist Ranch in 2000, the grapes for our Heirloom Chardonnay come from shy-bearing selections that produce small bunches and even smaller berries. Extremely low yields are typical of these unique vines, but the resulting wines are both expressive of their origins and the unique and varied site on which they’re grown. The Chardonnay vineyards at Grace Benoist Ranch have deep, well-drained loamy soils, ideal for growing this cool climate varietal.
The fruit for the Heirloom Chardonnay was harvested at night and gently whole-cluster pressed before being transferred to French oak barrels for fermentation. Traditional in approach, the wine was bottled after 16 months of maturation, with a periodic stirring of the yeast lees for the initial two months of aging to enhance aromatics and increase mouthfeel texture. This small lot Chardonnay was crafted to showcase the unique terroir at Grace Benoist Ranch. The wine underwent full natural and spontaneous primary fermentation and malolactic fermentation in order to diminish the winery intervention and highlight the natural acidity and beauty of the Chardonnay grape.
For more than a decade Jon has fashioned Etude wines with a simple creed. Inspired winegrowing diminishes the need for a winemaker to intervene in the cellar. Whether sourcing from the estate Grace Benoist Ranch in Sonoma's Los Carneros, or vineyards like Fiddlestix and North Canyon in famed growing regions of California's Central Coast, his focus is on coaxing the very best from the vineyard. It shows in every glass of Etude.