The making of this wine was truly an adventure into the unknown for us. Having been a style still popular in Friuli-Venezia Giulia as well as Slovenia and Georgia as recently as the 1960s, skin-fermented whites are being rediscovered. The results of this method can be quite astonishing when handled with the appropriate finesse and nuance.
The Label Art
The image on the label is a detail of a painting by Bay Area artist Krescent Carasso, inspired by our inaugural vintage of our new Pellegrini Skin Fermented Chardonnay. This unique golden-hued wine shows what the variety can do in some unexpected ways, just as the painting reveals itself on closer inspection.
A first for us, our 2019 Pellegrini Skin Fermented Chardonnay shows off the variety’s potential in a dramatic way. This wine’s darker yellow hue in the glass previews aromas of hazelnut, nutmeg, redwood, and fresh cracked black pepper. Soft and round on the front of the tongue, lemon curd, graham cracker, dried orange peel, and basil help tame the rich tannin structure.
Bazzano Vineyard is located two miles east of our Olivet Lane Estate, north of River Road near the town of Fulton. These hearty Old Wente clone vines are dry-farmed, thanks to the heavy clay soils in which they reside, lending great depth of fruit character. Hot afternoons are mitigated by a vigorous canopy, allowing for precise acid retention and bright fruit tones.
Grapes for this wine were destemmed directly to T-Bins the morning of the pick. Fermentation was encouraged immediately, bypassing cold soak, and three punchdowns per day helped to ensure all berries were thoroughly broken up to incorporate body and tannin from the skins. As fermentation neared completion, punchdowns were reduced to once a day until dry. This Chardonnay spent a total of 14 days on its skins. The resulting wine was pressed directly to barrel and underwent malolactic fermentation in full. It’s counterpart wine to be blended in, also from Bazzano Vineyard, was barrel fermented, and treated in a manner fit for Olivet Lane Chardonnay, with regular barrel stirring to create volume to balance the firm tannins of the skin fermented portion.
Food Pairing Notes
Gets along well with dishes featuring a creamy sauce, such as lobster bisque, or fried polenta with mushrooms.