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 soil produces grapes that provide this Chardonnay its richness and deep texture. The second block includes Dijon 76 from the rocky flatland on the northeastern side of our estate. The soil is fast-draining, but more importantly, it is 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.
2016 was a relatively smooth year that unfolded at a steady pace and with mild temperatures. While we didn’t have many exceptionally hot days, it was one of the earlier harvests on our record. Flowering and fruit set beautifully and yields were above normal, which was a nice change from previous years. We harvested our first grapes in mid-August, and had picked about 25% of our Pinot Noir and then a sudden cool spell arrived. This allowed cooler climate vineyards that had yet to be harvested to remain on the vine longer and develop deep and expressive flavors. The berries were smaller and heartier than normal which resulted in great depth of color and structure. We are extremely excited by the 2016s - they are something special! Pretty, expressive, and pleasurable.