Estate Grown, Sta. Rita Hills

Block "Top Cream", Dijon Clones 76, 95 + 96

Thirty years ago, my mom and dad planted the first vineyard on the 15 acre bench in the middle of our ranch. Its top soil is a 2 to 3 foot deep, grayish brown, gravelly loam that offers life to its vines on top of an ominously impervious layer of sandstone. It is a lean top soil in terms of fertility, and it definitely governs the vigor and morphology of the vines that grow in it. It is this layer of soil that I refer to as this vineyard's Top Cream. As a terroir it is ideal for growing the kind of Chardonnay that spreads its wings when put through a full-blown Burgundian style of winemaking. It is especially appropriate if one considers that the facets of a Burgundian style - the barrels, the malolactic fermentation, and the lees contact - synergize for the rendering of a Chardonnay that often smells and tastes, among other things, creamy. The trick to it all is to have the right Chardonnay grapes to begin with, and the trick to having the right grapes is to have the right soil. Indeed, the trick is in having the right TOP CREAM.