This wine comes primarily from the Y Block at Bien Nacido Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley area of northern Santa Barbara County. This block was custom planted for Qupe in 2005 on gravelly river bench soil, directly behind the winery. There is also some Chardonnay from the La Presa Vineyard in the blend, which is in the Los Olivos District of the Santa Ynez Valley. Rounding out the blend are small amounts of Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne.
The 2014 version of our Y Block Chardonnay comes primarily from Bien Nacido Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley, and primarily from the Y Block, a 15 acre, custom block planted exclusively for Qupé in 2005. Y Block is planted on gravel and sandy river bench type soil directly behind the winery. We have 3 clones planted there: clone 4, and Dijon clones 76 and 96.
As with all of our Chardonnays, this wine was made using traditional techniques…whole cluster pressed, chilled overnight in tank, then transferred directly to barrel for fermentation and aging. I like to go to barrel “dirty”, meaning with a fair amount of the lees. For barrels we use primarily Francois Freres Burgundy barrels, about 20% new. I’ll also incorporate some other new barrels that are designated for Syrah, just for the fermentation. This technique adds a little more new oak to the Chardonnay, and takes some of the edge off of the barrel when it is used for Syrah.
The wine was aged on the lees for 9 months and went through complete malo in the barrel as well. Shortly before bottling, the wine is racked for the first time, fined and cold stabilized, then given a light filtration before bottling.
2014 was a warmer than normal vintage so this wine is a bit more forward than most of our Y Block bottlings. It is is completely dry, and a refreshing 13.6% alcohol. The aromas are classic Santa Barbara Chardonnay with hints of pears, apples and citrus, nicely framed with beautiful French oak! In the mouth the wine is succulent and balanced with fresh acidity. This wine has always aged well, but beginning in 2012, I started using Stelvin screw cap closures…so drink it up before the next vintage is released!