Formerly a prune orchard, the Jack’s vineyard features thirteen acres of gently sloping land that leads to a rippling creek, which is itself a tributary of the Russian River. Several different soil characteristics provide a complex range of flavors and textures. Due to its northward-facing orientation, the fruit hangs longer on the vine than most Chardonnay in the area, developing more complex, distinctive flavors.
In the summer months, fog tends to settle over the vines in the evening and lingers as late as noon the following day. This classic Russian River Valley interplay between the warmth of the sun and the cool umbrella of fog gives the grapes an ideal balance of richness and depth.
Jack’s Vineyard is planted to the Chardonnay Musqué clone, a native of southern Burgundy revered for spicy, exotic aromatics. The fruit for our wine comes from a two-acre block near the creek. It is hand-sorted, then gently pressed in a small bladder press. The juice is allowed to settle overnight before being racked off of the heavy lees. To retain its delicacy and distinctiveness, this Chardonnay was fermented completelyin neutral French oak. After a scant four months of barrel aging, we bottled this wine early to preserve its vitality and expressiveness.
2008 will be remembered, at least by Sonoma winemakers, as a year of dramatic extremes. As the year began, the region saw an extraordinary amount of rainfall, followed closely by the driest March and April in Sonoma County history. But that wasn’t the only challenge Mother Nature threw at us—there were also record-breaking frosts. During bud break, the temperature vacillated erratically, with some days seeing differences of 50 degrees or more. Not surprisingly, harvest came early, in the midst of some very hot days towards the end of August. While keeping us on our toes, the weather of 2008 proved our agility to act and react at a moment’s notice, and reminded us that we are stewards of the land, not rulers of it. And despite our yield being lower than usual, the resulting fruit was stalwart, complex and powerful—making for structured and provocative wines.