2016 Tondre Grapefield Chardonnay
Chardonnay at its best is a reflection of vineyard and winemaker. For this limited release, we went to one of the Highlands’ most experienced growers: Joe Alarid. Joe has been growing here long before the area was an official appellation, and is one of the S.L.H.’s most respected wine growers.
Originally planted in 1997, the Tondré Grapefield is one of the Santa Lucia Highlands premiere estates. This is the first year Morgan Winery has used Tondré Grapefield fruit for both a single vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Tondré is located in the center of the Santa Lucia Highlands, just to the south of Soberanes and Garys’ Vineyards.
The spring and summer were mild with no extreme cold or hot periods, but mildew control was a challenge. Happily, no rain in the fall resulted in clean fruit, and was harvested on September 16th.
Hand sorted grapes were whole cluster pressed, preserving fruit flavors and natural acidity. Barrel fermentation in French oak began with Montrachet yeast. One hundred percent malolactic conversion and 10 months aging was achieved in 20 % new barrels, adding a touch of butter and rounded mouthfeel to the Tondre’s tropical fruit character and bright acidity. This gives us our “Morgan Balance.”
In the glass, Morgan’s Tondre Grapefield Chardonnay displays a beautiful light straw and golden hue. On the nose are notes of toffee, pineapple and vanilla bean, supported by lemon custard and butterscotch on the palate. This is an elegant, layered Chardonnay with a myriad of food-pairing possibilities. It should be served at cellar temperature (not too cold) and will go well with flavorful seafood and poultry dishes. It should reward short term, proper cellaring.