2021 Wayfarer Chardonnay
Cuvée Cleo

Tasting Notes

Everything we love about our 2021 The Estate Chardonnay is in this wine, plus more. Aromatically, it leaps from the glass with notes of white flower petals, jasmine, hawthorne, white peach and a multitude of stone fruits. Reflecting our terroir and the 2021 vintage perfectly, this wine evokes the power of sunshine at our high elevation, and the stony, mineral notes of our cooling coastal influence.

Winemaking Notes

The fruit was picked by hand at night, and firm, cool clusters were delivered to the winery before sunrise.  We hand-sorted the clusters and transferred them into a bladder press.  After gentle pressing, the juice settled for 24 hours before we carefully racked it into new French oak barrels.  Native yeast slowly guided fermentation, and batonnage was deliberate yet restrained 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.

Vintage Notes

2021 was a dry, warm, even vintage, giving us wines with great intensity and harmony.  Though we experienced record-low rainfall of 20 inches, a long way from our 65-inch average, it was plenty to fill our pond and irrigate our vines throughout the season.  Budbreak occurred on the early side due to an unusually dry, warm winter, and this early trend continued throughout the season.  Spring and summer remained dry and warm, though temperatures never spiked.  This consistency, along with bountiful sunlight, allowed for even ripening across the vineyard.  It was a smooth growing season and an ideal harvest, with all fruit picked at just the right moment and coming into the winery in a steady stream.  The wines are remarkably dense and complex, with lots of structure, energy and delicate aromatics.






99 Points

Audrey Frick, Jeb Dunnuck, July 2023

The 2021 Chardonnay Cuvée Cleo is luxurious and balanced, with delicate flint, elegant oak spice, wet stone, ripe green apple, and white flower-driven aromatics. It’s layered and extended, with a rounded mouthfeel and full body, although it remains weightless. It’s exceptional and long, with a Burgundian feel in its outstanding, stony texture and balancing acidity, as well as a salty character on the finish. Drink 2025-2037.

98 Points

Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Independent, July 2023

The 2021 Chardonnay Cuvée Cleo is a selection of 2 barrels this year. It slowly unfurls with swirling to reveal notes of orange blossom, lime cordial, and white peaches leading to wafts of marzipan, fresh ginger, and struck flint. The medium to full-bodied palate is fantastically vivacious and pure, delivering layer upon layer of stone fruit, minerals, and zesty accents, supported by a crisp backbone leading to a long and fragrant finish on this stunning wine.

97+ Points

Erin Brooks, Wine Advocate, June 2023

The 2021 Chardonnay Cuvée Cleo takes some coaxing to reveal saline, yellow apple, allspice, honeysuckle and creamy tones on the nose. The real treat at this early stage is the palate, which features explosive layers of spicy fruit and fine flinty streaks. It has a focused spine of acidity, and there's a pleasing austerity to the texture that lifts that exuberant flavor. It will need a few more years to harmonize in bottle, and it should be long-lived.

97 Points

Antonio Galloni, Vinous, January 2023

The 2021 Chardonnay Cuvée Cleo is a selection of the two best barrels in the cellar. Rich and unctuous, the 2021 possesses tremendous richness and tons of textural intensity. Lemon confit, tropical fruit, white flowers and a touch of new French oak all grace this creamy, expansive Chardonnay.

Wine Data

Todd Kohn
Wayfarer Vineyard, Fort Ross-Seaview
Double guyot
Vine Yield:
1.7 lbs/vine
September 11, 2021
December 12, 2022
September 2023
100% Chardonnay
6.2 g/L
Cases Produced:

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