In the late 1940s and early 1960s, Martin Ray planted six acres of Chardonnay vines propagated from a Burgundian selection grown in the famous Paul Masson vineyard. Twenty acres of estate Chardonnay are now farmed at Mount Eden. Yields are far below the average for Chardonnay in California.
The estate vineyard is harvested when slightly yellow to yellow-green and pressed without crushing. Juice is barrel-fermented in new and one-year-old French Burgundy barrels, where the wine undergoes full malolactic fermentation and is ages on the lees for 10 months before being lightly filtered prior to bottling. The Chardonnay then rests in the cellar for two years before release.
“The 2013 vintage has produced an outstanding young example of Estate Chardonnay here at Mount Eden, and this looks likely to be one of the great long-distance runners in recent times for this ageworthy bottling. The wine is still young and quite tightly-knit on both the nose and palate, but with the depth and racy spine of acidity to age beautifully. The still quite primary bouquet offers up scents of pear, white peach, fresh almond, stony soil tones, vineyard flowers and still a fair bit of buttery new wood. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, vibrant and focused, with an outstanding core of fruit, lovely soil signature, a fine structural spine and excellent bounce and grip on the long, nascently complex and impeccably balanced finish. This is still a puppy and is still in the midst of absorbing its new wood, but all of the constituent components are in place for the 2013 vintage to be one of the great classic Estate Chardonnay bottlings in the history of Mount Eden. The wine is already quite delicious, but it is still very early days for this wine and I would not even consider opening a bottle out of my cellar for at least another four or five years! 2020-2045+.”
94 points, View from the Cellar, July/August 2016
“Pure silk on the palate, the 2013 Chardonnay Estate offers textbook notes of buttered apples, brioche, toasted bread and hints of minerality to go with medium to full-bodied richness, beautiful purity of fruit, no hard edges and impeccable balance. It’s beautiful today, but should evolve gracefully for at least 5-6 years. 2016-2022”
94 points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Oct 2016
“The 2013 Chardonnay is especially ripe and voluptuous in this vintage because of the drought, almost unusually so. Yellow peach, candied orange peel and pineapple are front and center. The good news with the 2013 is that it will drink well early, but the bad news – if it can be called that – is that the wine is a bit on the overt side. Voluptuous, racy and oily, the 2013 will drink well with minimal cellaring. The 2013 finishes with a real sense of weight and textural richness that only adds to its considerable appeal.”
93 points, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, July 2016