2017 Black Knight Chardonnay
Fog layers during harvest settled in on the vineyard in the morning and evenings during the later half of summer, allowing for long hang time and less sun exposure as the grapes accumulated sugars. This in return helped retain a nice acidity and softer pallet. The nose starts with tropical fruit leads into bright fruits surrounded by a soft wood component and hazelnut finish. Flavors of meyer lemon and cantaloupe upfront, followed by delicate yeast and nutty mid palate, finished with nutmeg and walnut.
Clusters were hand harvested a break of dawn and delievered to the winery early in the morning nice and cool. At the winery, the grapes are loaded whole cluster into a bladder press and squeezed gently over a 3 hour cycle to extract all the juice as gently as possible. The juice is placed in 70% neutral oak barrels and 30% new oak barrels with a light toast where it is fermented and aged sur-lie for the next 11 months. Throughout the aging process we come through and batonnage (stir) the barrels and incorporate the lees into the wine to increase the texture and weight of the palate. This is a very common practice started in France many years ago.
Record-breaking winter rainfall kicked off the season, filling the water table to capacity and replenishing soils. A mild spring brought bud break at the normal time, and vintners reported small berries with excellent color. A hot summer culminated in a Labor Day weekend heat wave that caused some vintners to move up their harvest dates by a week or so. The grapes endured the heat and once cooler weather arrived, fruit was able to mature at a gradual pace. Mid-September rain forced growers open up canopies, and in some instances, use blowers to dry out certain varieties prior to harvesting. Early estimates predicted an average yield, but some vintners reported weight loss in the grapes after the heat wave. Because most of the fruit was picked prior to the October fires, vintners have a positive outlook on the 2017 wines, comparing the vintage to 2003, 2013 and 2014. The fruit has excellent color, pronounced flavors and high quality across varieties.
Black Knight Vineyards has a rich tradition of grape growing going back to the 1880’s when the first vines were planted and thrived up until prohibition. The property housed a variety of agricultural businesses including dairy, olives, and christmas trees. In 1980 the vines were re-planted in Chardonnay, Syrah, and Merlot. The Black family purchased the property in 2007 and promptly realistic the potential of the ranch was in cool climate varietals, turning half of the 15 producing acres into Pinot Noir. They have since added for 32 total producing acres with multiple types of cool climate Chardonnay, Pinot Noir (115, 667, 777, 828, Calera, Pommard), and unique varietals of Gamay Noir and Ploussard. The vineyards are managed by Vigneron Mitch Black and a small dedicated crew who have been with BKV for over 5 years.
Bailarín Cellars was created in 2014 by a collective of family and friends, each following their respective passions. Together we focus on producing small lots of handcrafted wines from unique vineyard sources. We are proud to share the fruits of our labor and love with you.