The Storm Cellar 2018 Chardonnay is a 50-50 blend of fruit from estate-grown Old Wente clone vines planted in 1987 here at the Redstone Vineyard and from select vineyard blocks at Talbott Farms on East Orchard Mesa in Palisade, Colorado. This Chardonnay has tropical fruit aromas, a honeyed texture, balanced acidity, and soft nuances of French oak.
This Chardonnay is a true taste of Colorado. This 50-50 blend of fruit from the state’s two official AVAs, Grand Valley and the West Elks. The riper, tropical fruit from Palisade is a beautiful counterpoint to the leaner, sharper fruit harvested from our estate vineyard. We opted to showcase the fruit and terroir is a less buttery, less oaky, more food-friendly style of Chardonnay.
The wine is elegant, refined, and lighter in style than most domestic Chardonnays. it is balanced on the palate, with notes of apples, pears, and pineapple, supported with subtle aromas and flavors of caramel and butterscotch. This wine pairs wonderfully with a wide range of foods, from crab and lobster, to grilled chicken and vegetables.
The 2018 Chardonnay was awarded a silver medal at the 2019 Colorado Governor’s Cup.
- Variety - 100% Chardonnay
- Clone - Old Wente
- AVAs - West Elks and Grand Valley
- Vineyards - Redstone Vineyard (Lower Al, LBC, and Wente Blocks) and Talbott Farms on East Orchard Mesa
- Harvest Dates - September 23 and 24, 2018
- Fermentation - temperature-controlled stainless steel, 30% malolactic fermentation
- Aging - 30% new, light-toast French oak; 70% stainless steel
- Brix - 24.2º
- pH - 3.60
- TA - 5.7 g/L
- Alcohol - 13.8%
- Production - 300 cases
- Awards - Silver Medal 2019 Colorado Governor's Cup Competition
Behind the Bottle
The Chardonnay here at the Redstone Vineyard is what drew us out here, when we first visited the property in May of 2016. The vineyard still has thriving plantings of Old Wente clone vines, planted in the mid-1980s. This has long been one of our favorite clones of Chardonnay, noted for its tropical tones and small, concentrated clusters. For The Storm Cellar 2018 Chardonnay, we wanted to give a shout-out, not only to our home base here in the West Elks AVA, but also to Colorado wine, as a whole. We decided to craft this wine with fruit sourced in equal parts from Colorado's two AVAs, the West Elks and Grand Valley. It's truly a taste of the unique climates these two regions offer for winemaking.
The months leading up to harvest were sunny, free of rain, and unseasonably hot, and the weather during harvest was exactly the same. The daily temperature hovered in the upper 90ºs, while the evening temperatures dipped into the lower 60ºs. These higher temperatures pushed the ripeness and phenolics of the Chardonnay, lending to more intense and riper fruit aromas.
We picked the grapes here at the Redstone Vineyard over the course of two days and fermented each day separately. We received the fruit from Palisade shortly thereafter and pressed it into its own tank. We selected one of the two tanks from our vineyard to go through malolatic fermentation, giving it a softer, richer texture and flavor, and we chose this same tank to undergo aging in new, French oak.
This Chardonnay has a special place in our hearts not only because it is one of our favorite styles of wine, but also because we decided to tie the knot among the old, dormant Chardonnay vines on a snowy day this past February! We surprised both of our families with the news and took off on a road trip to the Grand Canyon. We'll be celebrating our anniversary with one of our 2018 Chardonnays come next year!
A big thanks goes out to all of our Denver friends, restaurant industry family, and teammates who helped us with the Chardonnay harvest! We couldn't have done it without you. Eugene, Nathan, Jeri, Serena, and Keelan, you all rock!