We've been experiencing earlier ripening dates in recent years and the fruit from our newest Chardonnay plantings now has a higher ratio of sugars to acids at harvest compared to vintages a decade ago. This brought up an interesting issue: was the traditional secondary fermentation, that converts tart malic acid into less biting lactic acid, now necessary or even desirable? We have three different vineyard sites that normally produce all the fruit for our Première Reserve
bottlings, so in 2014 we divided the juice from each of these sites into two sublots; one to undergo malolactic fermentation and the other not. The wines for each sublot in a particular site were aged in exactly the same way, in identical French oak barrels. The final wines reflect, as best we could, the difference between undergoing malolactic fermentation and not doing so. Compare this sprightly wine to its plumper malolactic brother, our 2014 Première Reserve Chardonnay
. Gold Medal winner.