WindVane 2015 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

Freixenet USA has announced the national release of a pinot noir and Chardonnay from its new luxury brand WindVane.

The 2015 WindVane Carneros Pinot Noir (SRP: $45) and 2015 Chardonnay (SRP $40) this month will join the 2014 WindVane Reserve Pinot Noir (SRP $80) introduced last year.

Grapes were sourced from “the windiest individual vineyard blocks” in the westernmost part of 335-acres of estate vineyards in Carneros, California, the company says. The wind that give WindVane its name keeps temperatures cool, the company says, “slowing ripening and preserving an ideal acid balance, and encourages the development of thick skins.”

Both the WindVane Carneros Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are harvested at night to preserve freshness. Production is small with only 1,300 cases of Pinot Noir and 1,800 cases of Chardonnay produced.

The Chardonnay is barrel fermented (20% new oak) and a portion undergoes malolactic fermentation. The wine is left on its lees for nine months prior to bottling, with monthly topping-up and battonage (stirring of the lees). Aromas include pineapple, stone fruit and brioche. The fruit intensifies in the mouth, the company reports, and there is a clean minerality on the finish. Recommended food pairing: adobo-rubbed chicken, citrus grilled pork and with semi-hard cheeses.

After gentle crushing, the 2015 WindVane Carneros Pinot Noir undergoes two days of cold soaking to extract color and flavor from the skins, followed by ten days of fermentation in tank, with regular pumping over and punching down. Free run juice (no pressed juice) is then transferred to barrels to complete fermentation and the wine rests for nine months in French oak barrels (46% new).

Aromas suggest blackberry and black cherry, the company reports, with hints of spice and toasty oak. The dark fruit and herbal aromas pair well with dishes with similar flavors (grilled pork with blueberry-sage sauce), as well as with the smoky flavor of chipotle preparations and with a range of cheeses, from Appenzeller to Point Reyes Bay Blue.

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