Last week we learned the 2015 Monte Sereno Vineyard Chardonnay received 96 points from a prominent wine magazine (to be released February 2018). Anytime we receive a score in the 90’s, we obviously feel great pride. But to receive such high praise for a wine we have been making since only 2011, and with fruit from a fairly young and unknown vineyard, brings a great feeling of satisfaction throughout the production department.
Monte Sereno Vineyard was planted in 2006 mainly to Chardonnay clones 4 and 548. Early on, the wine showed promise but was a little disjointed and simple, characteristics that are very familiar to anyone making wine from a younger vineyard. As the vines aged, we started to notice the very unique characteristics the vineyard possessed. Initially the palate reflected a sweet pineapple flavor with dominating tropical nuances. As someone who has had a part in Talley Vineyards winemaking for the past 11 years, this was a very different flavor profile than I was used to. To be honest, it took some time for everyone to embrace it, as our customers were used to the power and elegance of the Rincon and Rosemary’s Vineyard Chardonnays and this wine was a nonconformist in the Talley Chardonnay world. However, as the vineyard matured the flavors became a kind of hybrid of those early Monte Sereno days and the flavors of Rincon Vineyard Chardonnay. There is a balance of more stone fruit and less tropical fruit, yet it still expresses that unique sweet pineapple characteristic that makes the Monte Sereno Vineyard Chardonnay so special. Clearly the age of the vines and the flavor development that came with time contributed to the recent success and the 96 points.
Personally, I embraced the Monte Sereno Vineyard Chardonnay from the beginning; that’s because I'm a wine nerd and that’s what we wine nerds do when something as unique as this Chardonnay is in our glass. This vineyard will continue to produce exceptional Chardonnay for at least the next 20 years and I can’t wait to see where it goes. If it receives 96 points in 2015 what can we expect in 2025?