2013 ANVIL Chardonnay, French Creek Vineyard
French Creek Vineyard is one of Washington’s oldest Chardonnay vineyards. Planted in 1981 by Shad Hope, the vineyard consists of Chardonnay, Gewurtztraminer, and Riesling grapes, and continues to be a highly sought-after Chardonnay site. It is located roughly 10 miles west of Red Mountain on a slightly south-facing low-elevation plain.
French Creek’slower elevation, combined with a consistent westerly wind through the Yakima Valley, cools the vines in the evening, allowing the fruit to maintain natural freshness and acidity. The soil is mostly silt loam with occasional spots of clay, caliche, basalt, and river rock. With such excellent drainage, the warm Eastern Washington summer sun, and light annual rainfall (6”- 8”), French Creek is one of our earliest ripening sites.
French Creek Vineyards, managed by Damon LaLonde, takes care to be sustainable and environmentally friendly. They use specific pruning/thinning techniques and in-row vegetation to their advantage, allowing the vineyard to be herbicide-free during the growing season.
Our 2013 French Creek Chardonnaycame in very early (September 9), and was whole-cluster pressed the same day. The free-run and light-press juice was chilled overnight and racked before fermentation began. Once started, the juice was racked to barrels for a slow, cool 4-week fermentation period on mostly new and 1-year French oak. The initial notes of bright citrus and tart peach have given way to beautiful light tropical fruits, a round thick mouthfeel, and just a hint of smoke and butter on the finish.