Our staple Chardonnay comes from two tried-and-true blocks. The primary source for this wine is planted to the Old Wente Selection. This is the most northern block, as well as one of the oldest, coldest and windiest sections of Durell. The fog lingers and wind is funneled down a sub-valley making for stronger, more prevalent wind. The gently sloped block has southern exposure and the soil some of the lightest on the property; it’s light in texture and pale in color. The soil produces grapes that provide this Chardonnay its richness and deep texture.
The second block includes Dijon clone 76 from the rocky flatland on the northeastern side of our estate. The soil is fast-draining, but more importantly the little bit of soil stuck between all the rocks is surprisingly fertile and strong. This, according to Rob Harris, Director of Vineyard Operations, “is the genius of Durell. The combination of rock and soil in the ratios we have is the biggest asset and determining influence.” The rocks bask in the warm sunshine, heating the soil and radiating warmth to the fruit. The result is the lush, ripe flavor and distinctive minerality that complements the Old-Wente lot bringing two of the loveliest attributes of Durell together in your glass.
The 2015 vintage proceeded with dry weather, extending our drought for
its fourth year. High temperatures started the year, causing early flowering mirroring the previous growing season. In spring the climate changed dramatically, heavy winds and cool spells hit. The effects of this caused fruit set to be extremely variable and by July we were ready for harvest. We picked earlier than ever and brought in grapes by August. Overall, the effect of early budbreak and weather was our yields were down 25%. While this isn’t great
for the amount of wine we can produce, what was left turned out to be fantastic. Small, concentrated berries allowed us to create richly flavored and textured wines. Like many things in life, the 2015 vintage demonstrated the beauty of the adage “less is more”.