The 2014 vintage has yielded a lush and silky wine, with beautiful floral aromatics, pure vivid fruit and lovely minerality. The nose offers layers apricot, golden apples, clover and a hint of beeswax. On the palate, excellent natural acidity and a note of lemon pie tartness add poise and length, underscoring flavors of creamy citrus, toasty spice and honeysuckle. This is an elegantly balanced wine that displays equal measures of power and grace.
|Vintage:||2014||Grape Varietals:||100% Chardonnay||ABV:||14.2%|
|Aging:||85% of the wine was fermented in French Oak Barrels (13% new) and 15% in concrete tank.|
We have made a vineyard-designate Conner Lee Vineyard Chardonnay since our debut 2000 vintage. Originally planted in the early 1980s, Conner Lee is located at an elevation of approximately 1,200 feet on the plateau of Radar Hill south of Othello, Washington. Farmed by Jerry Bookwalter and Tom Thorsen, it is a cool site in a warm, sunny region. In our Eastern Washington desert environment, the spring and fall nights can be 50 degrees cooler than the daytime temperatures. The hot summer months of July and August ripen the fruit, while cooler fall temperatures keep the acids high and the pH low. We work with Conner Lee's prized 1989 block and 2005 'clone #95' block. Both are planted with ungrafted vines in well-drained sandy-silt soils. To achieve the clean and complex style this wine is known for, we prune for optimum fruit positions in February, shoot thin in May and cluster thin at veraison—all to promote concentration in the fruit early in the year.
Vintage and Harvest:
2014 delivered abundant spring heat, leading to early budbreak and flowering. To address the heat, which continued through summer, we tailored our irrigation, crop size and shading to the needs of each vineyard. In the run up to harvest, Mother Nature delivered ideal temperate weather, which allowed us to pick exactly when we wished. One of our earliest harvests ever, we picked our 1989 block chardonnay starting on September 4th at 22.5 Brix and 3.3 pH, with our clone #95 grapes arriving on September 19th at 22.2 and 3.7 pH.
This is our 15th vintage of this benchmark wine. It was 100% whole-cluster pressed. 85% was fermented in predominantly mature Burgundy barrels, with a total of 13% new French oak. To enhance texture and richness, we fermented 15% in concrete. To maintain Conner Lee’s bright, fresh character, only 40% of the wine went through malolactic fermentation. In keeping with our gentle winemaking approach, and a belief in preserving nuance and complexity, this wine was not cold stabilized. As a result, if stored exceedingly cold, it may shed natural tartaric crystals.
|Item Number||Unit||Units/Case||Type||UPC - bottle||SCC - case||SRP/Unit|
|W1EE207024CHS||750ml||12||Glass||7 84585 01212 1||1 07 84585 01212 8||$35.95|
"Supple and harmonious, with lively apple and spicy cinnamon flavors. Drink now. 330 cases made."
- Wine Spectator (Web Only 2018), 89 pts
"In addition to the Semillon blend, this estate makes a rock-solid Chardonnay. The 2015 Chardonnay Conner Lee Vineyard offers textbook notes of stone fruits, citrus blossom and a touch of minerality in its firm, crisp and lively style. I suspect it will keep for 2-3 years. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #231, June 2017), 89 pts
"This wine is a bit reductive out of the gate, opening to reveal aromas of pear, peach, melon, lees and spice. The palate is creamy and textured in feel. If the aromas come together, it could move up a notch."
- Wine Enthusiast (September 2017), 88 pts
"Pale, bright yellow. Slightly high-toned nectarine and apple on the nose. A dry, fresh midweight with orchard and stone fruit flavors leavened by floral and mineral nuances. Less dominated by its alcohol than the winery's Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc/Muscadelle blend in 2015. The firm finish displays a lemony element. - Stephen Tanzer"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (November 2016), 88 pts
"85% fermented in oak, 13% new, the rest in concrete; 40% of the wine went through malolactic fermentation. Bright yellow. Aromas of apple, stone fruits and spices. In a rather powerful style, but offers a nice balance of lemony fruit, spices and lively acidity. Finishes dry and firm. Still a bit shy, this wine should be held for a year. - Stephen Tanzer"
- Vinous (November 2015), 89 pts
"This wine brings aromas of pineapple, lemon drop, chamomile tea and custard to the bouquet. The flavors are ripe and full, showing a sense of texture and weight followed by a persistent finish."
- Wine Enthusiast (November 2015), 91 pts
"Ripe, supple and seductive, with a spicy edge to the creamy pear and honey flavors, coming together with a hint of clove on the finish. Drink now through 2018. 330 cases made."
- Wine Spectator (Web Only 2015), 89 pts
"Straw-gold. Peach and apple aromas are lifted by floral and stony nuances. Fat, creamy and full, with sweet apple and spicy oak flavors given shape by nicely integrated acidity. Not especially complex, and a tad warm on the back end, but shows good tactile persistence. - Stephen Tanzer"
- Vinous (December 2014), 89 pts
"Smooth and spicy, with buttery pear flavors balanced against lacy acidity, finishing with delicacy. Drink now through 2016. 420 cases made. -HS"
Wine Spectator (Web Only 2013), 90pts