This is the most hedonistic version of the Chardonnay from Dad’s vineyard. As usual, whole cluster pressing (like with sparkling wine) was stopped at very low juice yields, giving more fine elements and avoiding any coarseness from the skins. With my two manually operated ‘bladder presses’ (please forgive the connotation) this requires valve turning, button pushing, lever turning and scurrying about reminiscent of Dorothy and her associates – first meeting with the man behind the curtain in ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ This is important to making high quality Chardonnay (the taking of only the first and finest juice as opposed to the scurrying), and especially critical for grapes from the less cool areas like Alexander Valley. Professionals who have tasted through the cellar consistently remark with surprise as to the finesse, integration, complexity and minerality this benchland Chardonnay possesses. Previous vintages continue to indicate how slowly and gracefully this unfined, unfiltered style of Chardonnay ages.