December 18, 2013
We have always loved the exotic character of late harvest white wines, and in 2012 we set aside a small quantity of Chardonnay from our Lavender Hill Vineyard in Carneros to make just one barrel of this rich and decadent dessert wine. Our Star Star Chardonnay is absolutely dripping with aromas of honey, bright orange blossom, rich almond and baked caramel apples. Full, luxurious flavors of apricot, orange liqueur, marzipan and apple tatin coat the mouth and linger long into the finish. With its unique warmth and richness, this wine is a perfect accompaniment to fruit tarts and soft cheeses, or it can be served as a dessert unto itself.
Our Star Star Late Harvest Chardonnay was made in the Italian style of “appassimento” (meaning to dry and shrivel), just as the famous Amarone (Veneto) and Sfursat (Lombardia) wines are made each year. The making of appassimento-style wine dates back over 3500 years to the ancient Romans, who regarded it as an elixir of the gods. Just one bottle of this wine requires over two pounds of fresh grapes.
The grapes were harvested on October 31st at 24.7 degrees Brix. Handled individually to avoid breakage or crushing, each cluster was hung up (strung by hand onto long pieces of string) or set out to dry on large burlap sacks, allowing plenty of air flow. After five weeks of drying the weight of the clusters was reduced by roughly 30% and the Brix level was elevated to 33.6 degrees. The greater concentration of sugar was accompanied by a distinct change in flavors and aromatics. After careful pressing, the wine was aged in one neutral French oak barrel for 13 months.
Limited availability – only one barrel produced. Shop now. >
The photos below were taken by the winemaking team at the beginning of the five week drying process.