This reserve Chardonnay is a masterful expression of the Robert Young Vineyard's finest fruit. It is barrel fermented and aged sur lie for an extended period of time in small French oak cooperage, then given one year of bottle age before release. It is an intensely flavored, richly textured wine that captures the essence of this highly acclaimed terroir.
The 2015 growing season was another beautiful vintage with mild temperatures and no weather upsets throughout. The season got off to an early start in the spring and continued through to an early start of harvest with dry and uniform weather. The resulting grapes, although overall yields were slightly down, were of very high quality.
The famous Robert Young Vineyard is located in the north central Alexander Valley of Sonoma County. The Chardonnay plantings are in rich, alluvial clay soils. Robert Young saw an opportunity to custom tailor a Chardonnay clone that was best suited for his vineyard site. Using the best selection from his original plantings of the Wente clone, Robert Young had his "Robert Young Clone" certified in 1989. In order for this wine to be designated Reserve, Winemaker Margo Van Staaveren hand-selects the individual barrels that show the greatest fruit intensity and the purest representation of the Robert Young Vineyard site.
After a 100% barrel fermentation and sur lie aging, individual barrels are tasted and those of great fruit intensity and texture are hand-selected to create the Reserve bottling. The wine ages in French oak barrels (22% new) for 15 months before bottling. The wine is given extended bottle age before being released – a true Reserve.
Margo Van Staaveren’s has been Winemaker for Chateau St. Jean since 2003 and has worked at the winery for over 40 harvests. She was named “Winemaker of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast magazine in 2008. During her long tenure with the winery, Margo has played a pivotal role in every facet of the winemaking process. As winemaker, she makes the final decisions involving blend and style to produce consistently high quality wines in the super premium and luxury category.