The grapes that went into our 2013 Aconcagua Costa Single Vineyard Chardonnay came from the Manzanar Vineyard, located just 12 kilometres from the Pacific Ocean. The average seasonal heat summation is just 1,191 Degree Days (DD), and the average January temperature is 18.4oC. The vines are planted at an altitude that varies between 100 and 200 metres above sea level. 28.5 hectares of Chardonnay were planted in 2005 using clones 548, 95, and 76, which produce different styles of grapes that increase complexity in the final blend. The vineyards are drip irrigated and trellised to vertical shoot position. The soils have a thin (40–80 cm) layer of loam texture over another layer of clay and weathered schist rock, which is responsible for the minerality found in our wines from the coastal vineyards. These unique conditions are ideal for growing cold-climate varieties such as Chardonnay.
Climate: Rainfall is limited to the winter months. Summer days are temperate with morning fog and afternoon breezes.
Soil: A thin layer of loam over a base of clay and weathered schist.
Harvest Dates: The last week of February through the second week of March
Heat summation (Oct–Apr): 1,191 degree-days
Average temperature (Oct–Apr): 16.5ºC
Daily Temperature (Oct–Apr): 13.8ºC
Annual Precipitation: 354 mm
This season was colder than the historic average. Spring began with temperatures that were lower than those of the previous season and the historic average. February was the month with the greatest heat summation and average maximum temperature (27.8oC). The heat summation from February to April was 6.3% lower than that of the previous season (1,276 DD) and 1.1% lower than the historic average (1,209 DD). Because the spring was cooler than that of the previous season, budbreak extended over a longer period. Despite the year’s colder conditions, the harvest date for Chardonnay was similar to that of the previous season in order to obtain a fresh, linear, and elegant style with a low alcohol level.
The grapes were hand picked during the early hours of the morning and transported to the cellar while still cool. The fruit was delicately whole-cluster pressed and the must was cold decanted in stainless steel tanks for a cleaner fermentation, which later took place in second-and third-use French oak barrels using native yeasts. Because the yeasts are not selected by technical criteria, such as resistance to SO2 and alcohol, etc., they undergo greater stress during fermentation and that, along with the larger number of strains of yeasts during a wild fermentation, produces different concentrations and proportions of fermentation by-products, which in turn contributes greater complexity to the wine. Fermentation took place at 18o–22oC, and approximately 45% of the final blend underwent malolactic fermentation. The wine remained on its fine lees in the same barrels for ten months.
Brilliant light yellow in colour, our 2013 Aconcagua Costa Wild Ferment Chardonnay offers various layers of aromas recalling fresh citrus notes followed by passion fruit, guava, and grapefruit intermingled with subtle aromas of honey and white flowers. The fruitiness reappears on the palate along with good acidity that lends tremendous freshness. The vertical and linear palate stands out for its minerality, elegance, character, and long ageing potential.