April 20, 2016
I always feel inspired when I visit Chablis, for it is here in these hillside vineyards that lie off by themselves, almost equidistant between Burgundy and Paris, that Chardonnay is at its purest.
I traveled there just a few weeks ago — this time without my frequent traveling companion, our winemaker Tadeo Borchardt. Still, in his absence, the tastings I experienced were no less pleasurable. While enjoying the 2015 Lavantureux Chablis on a chilly Monday morning, I sent Tadeo a text: How’s the 2015 Chardonnay ‘304’?
I’m reminded of Neyers Chardonnay ‘304’ whenever I drink Lavantureux Chablis, and when we tasted the 2015 from tank before I left on the trip, we both knew we had something special this year.
Our first vintage of Chardonnay ’304’ was the 2010. The idea for it came from Tadeo, but he insists that it really belongs to Roland Lavantureux. It was in Roland’s cellar in Chablis that we began to understand the process of continual yeast lees contact that is now the underlying process behind our Chardonnay ‘304’.
We improved on the wine further by re-examining the source of the grapes, and now we rely exclusively on the Carneros District fruit of Paul Larson. This is perhaps the southernmost Chardonnay vineyard – hence the coldest — in Carneros. We pick a little earlier every year as well, using the acid and pH as our guide rather than simply sugar level.
And of course the wine is never aged in oak. We may not have 300 million years of limestone deposits for our vines to grow on, but we still have a number of ways to find and retain an agreeable level of minerality in our wine.
Tadeo has made the final blend of the 2015 Neyers Chardonnay ‘304’ now, and the wine was recently bottled. It promises to provide an enormous amount of satisfaction to Chardonnay lovers this year.
2015 Chardonnay ‘304’ – $25/bottle