2014 Chardonnay Reserve
Named for the sea and sun
We planted our first grapes in the Santa Lucia Highlands in 1988 in pursuit of the best conditions for producing Chardonnay. A few vines gradually became a few acres, as we increased our vineyard little by little to achieve the highest quality. We took the name Mer Soleil from the two forces of nature, the sea and sun, that leave their imprint on this wine. The sea is nearby Monterey Bay, which delivers daily breezes off the Pacific Ocean that cool down the sun-drenched afternoons.
Longer hang times for riper fruit
As John Steinbeck wrote, “I’ve lived in good climate, and it bores the hell out of me. I like weather rather than climate.” The dramatic weather of the Santa Lucia Highlands – bright sun coupled with cooling breezes that turn into wild gusts of wind – protects the vines from heat spikes that can be devastating for Chardonnay. These conditions also have a “slow ripening” effect on the grapes, allowing us to harvest them later than northern appellations and achieve an intense concentration of character and flavor in the wine.
A balance of creaminess and acidity
Just like the weather where it is made, Mer Soleil Chardonnay is a dramatic and artful combination. Creamy and rich, the wine is balanced by a lively acidity. Fermentation and aging take place in French oak barrels for 12-15 months, using a mix of new and used for just the right amount of oak component. Only a portion of the wine goes through malolactic fermentation to ensure a firm acidity along with a hint of butter. We also practice hand stirring of the barrels to impart a creamy texture.
Golden and sun-kissed, the 2014 vintage opens up with the fresh, tropical scents of pineapple and citrus blossom, balanced by the smooth character of vanilla. White peach comes through on the palate, which has a vibrant acidity balanced by the natural character of fully ripe fruit. Medium to full-bodied, this wine has a finish that is lengthy but never heavy, its mix of oak, butter and fruit characteristics blending seamlessly and leaving a harmonious, lingering impression.
Winemaker and Viticulturist