2022 Chardonnay, Sonoma County
All of the unhinged hyperbole about the 2021 vintage may be justified. A second year of extreme drought in California set the table for a record-small crop and put the vines into high stress mode. The intelligent plants, struggling in soil devoid of any moisture, responded by setting very few clusters in the Spring. The clusters that made it were miniaturized, doll-house, baby clusters. Growers were not pleased. Winemakers were though. As is the case in Burgundy, Piedmont, or in California—the truly extraordinary vintages of the last 50-years have been those with small crops. The tiny yields made for immensely concentrated juice, packed with flavor, acidity, and buttressed by the low pH seen in extreme drought years. This 2021 SoCo showcases the three perennial RRV vineyards farmed by John Balletto, and was enhanced by the addition of a choice Old Wente vineyard in the Alexander Valley. As we have done in recent years, we declassified a few barrels of top tier Chardonnay into the big SoCo tank. The result? Sonoma Blanc!