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San Lorenzo Journeyman Russian River Chardonnay 2016

The purchase deed for the San Lorenzo planting makes reference to a young vineyard already producing on the property suggesting that the vineyard was planted before 1892. The San Lorenzo Planting today comprises 140 acres, 40 acres of which are planted to vineyard. It is idyllically located aside the Russian River and bordering the town of Healdsburg, the San Lorenzo spans both Alexander and Russian River Valleys. Its rocky terraces, foggy mornings, and southern-facing slopes.

Each lot of fruit is hand-harvested in the early morning hours and, then, sorted as it enters the winery. Gently pressing over a period of four hours, they yield less wine while avoiding bitterness from the skins. Once in a barrel or concrete egg, native yeast begins fermentation. All lees remain in the barrel throughout the aging process adding complexity and richness.

The Seghesio family set out to craft Chardonnay with the mineral vibrancy of White Burgundy, while retaining the layers of texture and opulence that have defined the Russian River Appellation. From this perspective, they sought to expand the range of energy and depth of flavor through varied, exceptional fruit sources and employing two different modes of fermentation: both barrel and concrete egg. The source for the highest acid sites in the Russian River Valley.  Most of the sites come from the Green Valley area inside the Russian River Alexander Valley, allowing for even higher natural acidity. The mineral vibrancy of the Chardonnay comes in part from choice Dijon selections of cold-climate vineyards to preserve acidity. Heritage clone selections, such as Wente and Rued, are harvested at higher sugar levels, giving the wine a layer of opulence.

Each lot is harvested middle of the night and pressed as the sun rises. All solids go into the tank, where they are mixed and then broken down into barrels. Only native cultures are used for fermentation.  No S02 is added to any lot until it is through malolactic fermentation. Full solids are preserved all the way until the end of the aging period. The wine is racked and blended into one tank, where it is allowed to settle for upwards of 4 months.  They bottle each December and release early June.

Each vintage, 30-40% of the Journeyman Chardonnay is fermented in Concrete Egg. The egg, considered nature’s perfect shape, produces a gentle vortex that suspends the natural solids in solution longer than in a barrel. The result is enhanced creaminess over traditional barrel fermentation. The natural and semi-porous concrete surface allows the fullest expression of the vineyard and its fruit. Inside the egg’s thick walls, an embedded temperature system allows for precise and gradual temperature control that proves healthier for the native yeast culture. Concrete fermentation is performed at 55 degrees and can take upwards of two months to complete. The wine, as in barrel, sits on the lees for upwards of one year for complexity and texture.

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