2015 Chardonnay Bald Mountain Sand Hill
Ben Lomond Mountain
Tastings Notes by consulting Master Sommelier Ian Cauble: The Sand Hill Chardonnay comes from a single plot on Beauregard’s well known Bald Mountain Vineyard located just south of the town of Bonny Doon. The 2015 displays a concentrated bright golden yellow core that moves to green and gold reflections on the meniscus, very typical of this wine year after year. Every vintage this wine seems to become more restrained, made in a style more associated with the classic white wines from Burgundy than the richer style often encountered in California. The wine is harvested at about 22 Brix and slowly pressed into a mix of neutral barrels and stainless steel barrels where the wine is fermented, then aged for close to 1 year before being bottled. The nose has aromas of asian pear, white flowers, honey, lemons blossoms, crushed stones, hazelnut and stirred lees, The palate is medium bodied, medium plus in acidity with similar flavors to the nose along with bright citrus notes, crushed white stones, and a touch of an oyster shell note on the finish. This is a young wine which needs time in the cellar to reach its prime, like all great examples of Chardonnay. If drinking this wine during its youth, ideally decant for 1 hour before serving at just under cellar temp, 50-55F is ideal, and let the wine warm in the glass. I must stress, if you serve this wine too cold the delicate aromas will be lost and the acid will seem more elevated on the palate, so take the wine from the refrigerator at least 30-45 minutes before consuming. For those who can wait after the wines 7th-10th birthday to open this will find the wines true peak. It will be worth the wait.
Bald Mountain Vineyard, located in Bonny Doon, is owned and farmed by Jim Beauregard. Planted in 1990, the 40 acre vineyard sits at an elevation of 920 to 1050 feet on a southwest facing slope. Monterey Bay marine influences combine with the rare white sandy Zayante soil to produces wines with minerality and striking acidity. Plantings: 33 acres Chardonnay Clone 4.
First and foremost is my favorite wine that we make, Chardonnay Bald Mountain Vineyard ‘Sand Hill’ 2016. This wine comes from a specific small spot on the 32 acre vineyard. What I do is pick enough grapes to fill only two French oak puncheons (the big barrels). Only 1,000 Liters are separated from what I consider to be the best of the best from this prestigious vineyard. The grapes are gently whole cluster pressed with a minimal extraction and chilled to separate the solids (kinda like your orange juice in the fridge). The juice is separated from the ‘pulp’ (gross lees in winemaking language) and moved into the puncheons for fermentation where the temperature can come up to cellar temperature slowly over the course of a week where I hope (but it always does) fermentation will start (naturally, and without yeast). The wine finishes fermentation in around 3 weeks and then sits on the lees (dead yeast cells) for 10 months before bottling. I designed this wine to be age worthy for 25 years, however it is off the charts amazing now.