2019 Chardonnay "Dream Field"
Peake Vineyard, Sta. Rita Hills
There is a place under an ancient Oak tree on the Peake Ranch, where if you look toward the west you see one of the most beautiful little hillsides in the Sta. Rita Hills. For me, part of its beauty is the daily breeze that all of a sudden cools down a couple degrees once it hits the shade of that massive tree. Another part of it, which is more subconscious, is the feeling of looking to the west in the direction of 99% of all the rest of the greatness that now lies along Santa Road in the Sta. Rita Hills. 30 years ago, the only thing there viticulturally was our primordial granddaddy, the Sanford & Benedict Vineyard. Today there is a 10 mile long stage on top of which winemaker after winemaker unleashes their passions. Still, another part of its beauty is that this hillside is the home of one of the most meticulously farmed vineyards in Santa Barbara County. It’s the home of Peake Ranche’s Block 14B, which provides a sublime east facing climate for two acres of Hyde Clone Chardonnay, the fruit from which over the last couple of years has turned out to be a dream come true.
I am starting to hear some of the purists out there say that it’s Chardonnay, not Pinot Noir, that is the Sta. Rita Hill's best grape. Whether that’s true or not, my Dream Field Chardonnay is definitely one of those wines fueling the discussion. Once again, it's an expression of a complete Burgundian style, including just the right amount of new French Oak (33%) and just the right amount of time spent undisturbed on its lees/yeast sediment (9 months). But more than anything, it's an expression of a stunning terroir with a grower who knows how to bring all of its delicacy and richness into the foreground.