2017 Wallula Vineyard “Christina” Chardonnay - Den Hoed Wine Estates

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Gala apple slice, crushed clove, peach skin. Bright Meyer lemon, fresh jasmine, pineapple core. Orchard blossom and subtle honeysuckle, powdered nutmeg and butterscotch. Barely-ripe Bosc pear, nectarine, and apricot pit lead a juicy yet delightfully restrained fruit-driven attack filled out by warm vanilla, clove, and baking spice. Light florals contribute delicate aromatic perfume aided by a hint of reductive smoke and lightly toasted wood. Swiss cheese and sour cream point clearly to MLF yet roundness remains squarely in check. Tart, focused, and currently very tense and tight; driven by medium plus acidity within a classic medium bodied frame. This 2017 Wallula Vineyard "Christina" Chardonnay by Den Hoed Wine Estates is a wonderfully composed and terrifically balanced white from Washington's Horse Heaven Hills.

One of the highlights of Washington wine country is that due to unique topographic and climatic influences a wide range of grape varieties can thrive within a very small geographical area. This bottling, crafted by Den Hoed Wine Estates using Chardonnay sourced from their Wallula Vineyard, is a great example of this rare phenomenon. Despite being grown at a site that produces world class Cabernet this wine is remarkably structured and focused, and simply does not drink like a warm climate white. The steep slopes of the Wallula Vineyard have combined with the nearby Columbia River to create a series of cooler zones within the vineyard that are perfectly suited to Chardonnay, and this wine is the product of those distinct microclimates. It cohesively balances modern ripeness and classic tartness in a way that is both contemplative and delicious, and will be very interesting to follow as it matures and develops.