And maybe you remember the best vintages of Abeja Chardonnay?
John Abbott left Abeja to found Devona, a super-exciting new project from both sides of the Columbia Gorge (Oregon and Washington). He's made a similar Chardonnay balancing two distinct sides/vineyards in Washington: Celilo in the western Columbia Gorge and Gamache in Columbia Valley. We loved the minerals dancing from the glass, with a great body of rich summer peach and pear. Expertly crafted and balanced.
From winemaker John Abbott: My goal with this vintage of Chardonnay was to combine the best characteristics of the elegant 2015 Chardonnay with the more powerful Chardonnay we made in 2016. This wine is vibrant and fruit driven, with bright acidity and the added complexity that barrel fermentation, lees stirring, and a partial-malolactic fermentation bring. Peter, in the cellar, describes it as “a Chardonnay that has weight, yet seems weightless”. We were also able to keep the alcohol level under 14%, even though we picked two weeks later than in 2016. This we like!
The 2017 vintage finally brought us some more typical picking dates in late September. The crop was light at Celilo, as the retraining of our block continues, but what fruit we did harvest was classic Columbia Gorge Chardonnay. Gamache Vineyard, under the fine management of the talented Sagemoor crew for the second vintage, was beautifully balanced and elegant.
Our Chardonnay is always 100% barrel fermented. Twenty-five percent of the barrels were new Burgundy barrels, which is the same amount of new wood as we used in 2016, and I like the balance that this proportion of new wood allows. We left this wine on the lees and in barrel longer than we have of the past two vintages, giving just a little more time to round out the mouth. It was then bottled on Friday, July 13 and everything went great that day!
The characters are classic Bartlett pear, white peach, honeysuckle, and a hint of that wet stone minerality that we find in classic Chardonnay. Another character that we find in our Chardonnay and other classic wines of this varietal is a juicy waxiness, a little like those Halloween teeth we had as kids. Finally, a touch of citrus zest livens the palate and brings you to a round mid-palate that is balanced by a freshness and a nice acidity that carries through the entire length of the wine.
I feel Emmylou Harris’s Red Dirt Girl is a perfect pairing for this wine, as is the whole album of the same name. A Little Honey by Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats pairs amazingly well, too. Staying in that same vein, finish the glass with Alabama Shakes’ Hold On. I hope you enjoy the wine. It was a lot of fun to make!