2015 Evans Chardonnay A L'Ancienne
The Chardonnay A L’Ancienne is only made in tiny quantities, and only in years when the grapes are so promising that I am confident I can pick them and let them become wine as naturally as possible. Once picked, the grapes are both foot-crushed and whole-cluster pressed, and the juice is put in French oak barrels (previously-used barrels, chosen to impart minimal oak flavor). And at that point, I stop intervening, and I let the wine develop by itself. I do not add yeast, so it is fermented by indigenous yeasts, which add complexity. I do not adjust or stop the fermentation, or add acid or enzymes. Usually I do not even rack the wine, instead I let it remain in contact with its lees through the autumn, winter, and spring. The extended lees contact may be sensed in the aroma and the supple texture of the wine. The wine is not put through traditional cold-stabilization (so if you get it too cold – for example if you leave it in your fridge for too long or – mon dieu! – your freezer – it may develop a sediment of tartrate crystals. But don’t worry, those crystals are harmless). This wine is not fined or filtered, which is very uncommon for a white wine.
The result of this natural, hands-off winemaking is a powerful and complex symphony of only barely-tamed flavors, combined with a wonderfully rich and supple mouthfeel. It opens with meyer lemons, baked apple, toasted filberts, and hints of pennyroyal. On the palate, there is a tension between the wet-stone minerality and the rich (slightly buttery) texture, which resolves into a wonderfully long finish that favors the latter. The wine is completely dry, yet it seems almost sweet because of the intense fruit flavors and mouthfeel. This Chardonnay can stand on its own, but it will really shine with foods such as pan-fried lingcod, chicken and asparagus in white wine sauce, or roast turkey breast. This wine should age well for another 5 years.
Please note: this is a natural wine that has not been filtered, so it will develop sediment in the bottle. I highly recommend decanting it for maximum enjoyment.