2020 Hollow Wines Chardonnay Eden Rift Vineyard
Region: Cienega Valley (Central CA) < California
Vineyard/Cellar Stats:Organic farming; whole cluster pressed, concrete fermentation for 21 days with partial malo then aged in stainless steel; 30ppm added So2 before bottling; 12.5% ABV; 160 cases
Winemaker: Quinn Hobbs
Hollow Wines is a newish natty California project from Woodson “Quinn” Hobbs, who grew up in Portola Valley, with his Aussie wife Alison and their daughter Mina. They currently live in LA but make the wine in Gilroy, sourcing fruit from organic vineyards up and down the state. Quinn not only has the Midas touch with wine, he's also getting his PhD in global leadership and change so that he can help other wineries produce low-carbon wine that’s better for the planet and the people. To that end, Hobbs requires fruit sources to be organic. If you use Roundup anywhere on the property, it's a firm no-go. “Roundup is a disaster for this planet,” he says. He considers himself a practitioner of No B.S. winemaking, which he equates to minimal intervention and using wild yeast with no adds other than some sulfur. Some might call it natural winemaking, but he prefers to say “simply good wine making.”We'll let Quinn tell us about this wine: "The beautiful child on the front is my daughter Mina who, like the Chardonnay, doesn't subscribe to any conventional/societal norms! I believe Chardonnay (even more so than Merlot) is the most misunderstood grape! These grapes come specifically from the Cienega AVA, where it's right on top of a limestone vein and the San Andreas fault. The acidity is ripping even with low malic. So I pressed this directly into concrete (whole cluster) for 21 days until it was dry. I racked off the gross lees into stainless steel, where I hit it with its only dose of so2 (30ppm), which prevented any more malo (dropped from 1.7gL to 1.2 gL) and was subsequently bottled once I was able to secure glass (the nightmare that never ends). I hope the result speaks for itself and stuns people daily when I blind them, and they discover its chardonnay!"
And wow, did this bottle stun us! We're admittedly not the biggest Cali Chardonnay fans, mostly because of how mistreated the grape is here, with later picks and heavy oak treatments that mask the crisp flavor and bright acid of the grape, resulting in a higher alcohol, overdone wine. But we absolutely LOVE Quinn's version, which is light and bright, all lemony tartness, crisp green apple and salt spray, finishing with a firm, clean minerality. If you're in the ABC (anything but Chardonnay) club, this is the wine that will change your mind about the grape, trust us -- even if you're a die-hard Sauv Blanc fan!