2021 Dancing Crow Chardonnay
The first release from a new vintage is always cause for celebration and this year doubly so because the 2021 Chardonnay is a brand-new wine for us and it comes out of the gate with a gold medal from the 2022 San Francisco International Wine Competition.
Dancing Crow was launched with a Sauvignon Blanc from our home vineyard in Lake County and in the hands of winemakers, David and Katharine DeSante, we were able to craft a distinctive style from this varietal on this location with the wine showing freshness and complexity at only 12.5% alcohol. This style has held up in each vintage since 2015 and we think it demonstrates that this area of California is capable of producing a truly unique New World Sauvignon Blanc. Sourced from a vineyard with a terroir very similar to the Sauvignon Blanc, this Chardonnay builds on that legacy.
The Growing Season
The 2021 vintage in Lake County shows remarkable potential, with its exceptional quality and concentration of flavors. Spring growing conditions, in our 1350’ elevation AVA, prompted bud break a week earlier than average, raising the risk of frost. While our fruit set was decreased, due to the persistent drought, we harvested with near perfect temperatures in August. We began picking about a week earlier than normal and once the fruit began coming in it was clear that the quality was going to be some of the best in recent memory. Low winter rainfall contributed to a lighter-than-average crop, but the loose bunched clusters, facilitated steady ripening, which in turn led to particularly balanced and flavorful grapes. The defining factor for the 2021 harvest was the degree of concentration observed when we harvested clusters with the same number of berries, but only half their normal weight in most cases. This vintage will be remembered for its flavorful wines, developing additional complexity over time.
The fruit for our Chardonnay was hand-picked at 21.5° Brix and whole cluster pressed. This wine is 100% Chardonnay, coming from 30-year-old, CCOF certified Organic vines near Lakeport – one of the coldest sites in Lake County. For this offering, our winemakers utilized classic Chablisienne type winemaking methods, with 2/3 of the fruit being fermented in stainless steel tanks and the remaining 1/3 barrel fermented in neutral oak. The wine was lees stirred to develop depth, then chilled to prevent the malolactic fermentation.
Winemaker Sensory Impressions
This Chardonnay showcases aromas of green apples, white hedge flowers and lime blossoms that gracefully make way for flavors of poached Russet apples, Meyer lemon and honeycomb, that are best described as a combination of wildflowers and beeswax. The mouthfeel is elegant and bright, followed by an extended citrus-inspired finish.
If you would like to buy some of the 2021 Chardonnay, please click HERE