2019 started out like any other, with the potential of an earlier harvest than the previous year. With that expectation we were ready in August to begin to bring in fruit, but the weather around the Walla Walla Valley changed on us coming into the end of August and we experienced a freeze in October. While the temperature change surprised us, it allowed the fruit to ripen slowly and many varietals around Washington truly blossomed.
Planted in 1981 by Shad Hope and managed by Damon LaLonde, this vineyard continues to be a highly sought-after Chardonnay site, and is one of Washington State’s oldest producing Chardonnay vineyards. Great care is taken to be environmentally friendly while employing sustainable farming practices. The South-facing lower elevation, combined with a consistent westerly wind through the Yakima Valley cools the vines in the evening, allowing the fruit to maintain natural freshness and acidity. The soil is mostly silt loam with occasional spots of clay, caliche, basalt, and river rock. Older vines like these have deep roots and self-regulate, which provides consistency year after year. The richness imparted by old vines leads to the deep and complex flavors that marry gracefully with lively acidity.
An energetic straw color in the glass leads into an undeniable nose of lemon, honeysuckle, and grapefruit; characteristic of a Classic French Creek Vineyard Chardonnay. Tropical notes and a lively palate full of bright acidity linger on through the lengthy finish. A perfect pairing for a dish of fettucine with scallops and lemon-tarragon butter.