The best of Wayfarer Vineyard Chardonnay, 2020 Cuvée Cleo is extremely expressive in the glass. An intoxicating bouquet of orchard flowers, star jasmine, apricot and orange peel mingle with wafts of toasted almonds and freshly baked madeleines. On the palate, the wine is voluminous and intense with flavors of lemon confit, pear and white peach, underpinned by slate stones. With a precise structure, refined minerality and exuberant acidity, the finish goes on and on.
The fruit was picked by hand at night, and firm, cool clusters were delivered to the winery before sunrise. We hand-sorted the clusters then transferred them into a bladder press. After gentle pressing, the juice settled for 24 hours before we carefully racked it new French oak barrels. Native yeast slowly guided alcoholic fermentation, with measured batonnage until malolactic fermentation was complete. The wine aged sur lie for 15 months without any racking, fining or filtration. We carefully racked the wine off its lees directly to bottle.
The 2020 vintage was warm but consistent, resulting in exceptionally expressive and intense wines. With only 28 inches of rain compared to our 65-inch average, it was another drought year, however late spring rains filled the soil profile to give the vines plenty of energy. The summer was warmer than average, reaching the mid-80s most days, but the temperature remained even, with only one day over 90 degrees. The vines loved this consistency and thrived through harvest, which began on the early side at the end of August.
Audrey Frick, jebdunnuck.com, August 2022
The 2020 Chardonnay Cuvée Cleo takes on more depth, with orange flower, pineapple, and beeswax. Up front, the palate is ripe with golden orchard fruit and apricot, as well as orange peel and a hint of warming spice. The palate is full and opulent, with a suspended yet clean texture, making this an incredibly elegant and profound wine. Drink it over the next 10 or more years.
Erin Brooks, Wine Advocate, July 2022
The 2020 Chardonnay Cuvée Cleo comes from one new barrel of Hyde clone fruit and is elegant and expressive. It has a spicy character on the nose complementing scents of quince, pear, elderflower, flint and crushed almonds. The medium-bodied palate is satiny and fragrant, with detailed, mineral-laced fruits and a very long, seamless finish.
- Todd Kohn
- Wayfarer Vineyard, Fort Ross-Seaview, Sonoma
- Double guyot
- Vine Yield:
- 1.46 pounds/vine
- September 9, 2020
- December 15, 2021
- Spring 2023
- 6.7 g/L
- Cases Produced: