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 2014 Chardonnay Estate comes from 43% of the average yields (it was a tiny crop due to the drought) and was barrel fermented in 70% new French oak and aged 10 months on lees before bottling. It’s another youthful, slightly reserved Chardonnay that’s going to benefit from cellaring. Brioche, buttered citrus, almond paste and honeysuckle all give way to a beautifully balanced, layered, rich effort that has vibrant acidity as well. There’s 1,495 cases.”
94 points, JebDunnuck.com, Aug 2017
“An oil-like shade of yellow in the glass, this is still a baby, showing aromas of walnut, seared lemon, yogurt, white flowers, oak and smoke. The acidity is pure and strong, cutting through the nutty flavours and savoury richness. Sea salt, browned butter, Meyer lemon peels and orange marmalade flavours will only grow more cohesive with time.”
94 points, Wine Enthusiast, Nov 2017
“The 2014 Chardonnay (Santa Cruz Mountains) is a rich, almost viscous wine endowed with palpable intensity in all of its dimensions. Orange peel, apricot, mint, wild flowers and chamomile are all nicely pushed forward. Deceptive in its mid-weight feel, the 2014 possesses quite a bit of structure. Even so, it is the wine’s precision and energy that I find most impressive at this stage. I would give the 2014 at least a few years to fully come together, as it is pretty tightly wound, even after a few hours of aeration.”
93 points, Antonio Galloni vinous.com, Aug 2017