I had such a great experience with the Clos Pegase Sauvignon Blanc, I was quite excited to move on to their Chardonnay. Interestingly, these two very different grapes come from the same vineyard — Mitsuko’s Vineyard in the cool(ish) climate of the Los Carneros appellation. The sprawling 365 acre vineyard boasts a wide array of soil types and elevations that creates a broad range of microclimates suited for different varietals.While the portion planted to Sauvignon Blanc is all about the Bordeaux-like soil, the portion planted to Chardonnay (and Pinot Noir) is all about those chilly breezes wafting off of the San Pablo Bay.
About the Wine: Clos Pegase 2015 Mitsuko’s Vineyard Chardonnay is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes sourced from the Mitsuko’s Vineyard in the Los Carneros appellation of Napa Valley. After harvest the grapes settled into the press for a gentle, slow press of two hours during which time the winemaking team conducted several taste tests to determine when to halt the pressing process. After settling, the grape juice was racked into oak barrels for primary fermentation — this was again a slow and cool process, taking place in the winery’s “cool cave system.” After fermentation, the wine was inoculated with a malolactic bacteria strain — something that aids in deacidification without adding that ML flavor we all associate with the actual process (i.e.: butter). The Chardonnay then aged in barrel for 10 months, sur lie in French oak (30% new) without racking.
Flavor Profile: Pop the cork and take a whiff just above the bottle. There’s this home-y scent of poached pear — soft white-fleshed fruit, a hint of honey, maple syrup, rounded by vanilla essence.
In the glass, the Clos Pegase 2015 Mitsuko’s Vineyard Chardonnay is candy-colored amber, reminiscent of those hard butterscotch candies every grandma keeps in her lint-filled pockets. The primary aromas are filled with apple, pear, vanilla, grass, candied lemon peel, and citrus zest.
The palate has so much going on. There’s a constant background of honey essence, but the wine is by no means sweet. There’s a savory, toasty bread flavor that walks hand-in-hand with thinly sliced tart apple. The finish is solid, static, the texture a bit grey and boxy, a bit like biting into a fruit’s pithy skin. It took me a few sips and swishes to realize that taste and texture — it’s pollen. So the aftertaste is quite dry with that pollen texture (very similar to the texture you have after chewing on spinach), but floral in flavor.
This Chardonnay is interesting — and fun — to discover.
Food Pairing: I paired the Clos Pegase 2015 Mitsuko’s Vineyard Chardonnay with a grilled vegetable panini — red bell pepper, eggplant, and portobello mushroom atop fresh ciabatta bread that was just delicately spread with a garlic cream sauce.
The dryness of this white wine went so well with the softened, juicy vegetables as well as the cream sauce. The contrast in textures is a pleasure to the palate. One thing I will note: I had a spinach salad on the side — the cruciferous nature of the leaves did not pair well this the finish of this Chardonnay.
More Info: If you haven’t yet read my review for Clos Pegase Sauvignon Blanc — please do. This is another interesting take on the varietal, as it’s actually made from an SB clone called Sauvignon Blanc-Musqué. After having tried both the SB and the Chard from Mitsuko’s Vineyard, I’m eager to see how the red varietals from the same vineyard (Pinot Noir, Merlot) stack up.
I received the Clos Pegase 2015 Mitsuko’s Vineyard Chardonnay as a sample for review. (Cheers!) Retail: $30 For more information about Clos Pegase and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Clos Pegase website.
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