In the late 1940’s and early 1960’s, 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 fruit is just slightly yellow to yellow-green in hue 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 ten months before being lightly filtered and bottled. The Chardonnay then rests in the cellar for two years before release.
“Mount Eden’s Chardonnay vines are descendants of cuttings that Paul Masson brought from Burgundy and planted at his La Cresta Vineyard, and where Martin Ray sourced the plant material when he established Mount Eden on a nearby ridge, 2,000 feet above the Pacific, facing east. The contemporary vines, mostly planted in the mid-1990s, are tended by Jeffrey Patterson who made this rich and powerful 2018. Fermented in French oak barrels (50 percent new), the wine’s smokiness seems tied as much to the earth as to the wood. It’s savoury and lemony, with a firm cut that should serve it well through several years of bottle aging. “
92 points, Wine & Spirits magazine, Oct 2021