2014 Cuvée L'Inconnu Blanc de Blancs
107 cases ~ harvested August 8, 2014
Disgorged ~ November - February 2020-2021
Farming ~ Organic
The Vintage: The 2014 vintage has its own signature, perhaps from the vines enduring the 2nd full year of severe drought. The benefits of training the vines to go deep (with low-irrigation) and regular application of thick blankets of mulch (to hold in moisture) have definitely assisted in lowering the stress on the vines. Overall, the yields were actually higher than usual for most of the region. The winter of 2014 was mild and dry and bud break came a few weeks early, and so, in turn, did harvest. The result for this vintage is very fresh, mineral, deeply soulful, and pure juice. These wines really convey all the attributes so special and unique to this place; precision, clarity, & power all framed with a strong sense of the nearby ocean.
The site: The cool climate on the banks of the Santa Ynez River, just 8 miles west of the Pacific Ocean, gets a generous blanket of dense, damp, fog each night, which chills down the vines. The sun burns through around mid-day, giving way to warm and breezy afternoons. This allows the grapes to ripen slowly, keeping a natural acidity to the juice pressed from these grapes. The vines struggle to push through rocky, silty soil, contributing to the complexity and depth in the juice from this fruit.
Winemaking Notes: Cuvée L'Inconnu (meaning the unknown) is made from a single vintage, single vineyard, single block in the traditional Méthode Champenoise. It was harvested in the foggy, early morning hours from our Wente Block, and is 100% Chardonnay. Lightly pressed with stems in our vintage Coquard press, to stainless steel tank, it fermented there, then the juice was racked to a 2nd tank where it rested 12 months. July 2015, we put it through its secondary fermentation and capped it. It rested on the lees for 5+ years. In late Fall 2020, we began the disgorging process, topped off with the same vintage sans dosage (no sugar added), The flavor profile of the wine reflects where the vines are anchored, in silty, chalky soil on the cool banks of the Santa Ynez River. It's loaded with citrus notes balanced by minerality and a hint of salinity. The extended time on the lees gives a nice mid-palate weight, texture and complexity. The finish is clean, fresh and focussed. This is authentic, climate driven wine with no manipulation.
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