2018 Harrington Chardonnay Liebler Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains
Region: Santa Cruz Mountains < California
Vineyard/cellar stats: Organic farming; soil is primarily clay-based with varying amounts of sand; after careful sorting, the lot was whole-cluster pressed and fermented for three weeks in two stainless steel tanks, then aged on the lees in one 1000 liter stainless steel tank and one new French oak barrel; bottled unfined/unfiltered with minimal added So2; 13.1% ABV 98 cases
Winemaker: Bryan Harrington
MOUNTAIN MAGIC: The Liebeler Vineyard is located in the Santa Cruz Mountains, west of Woodside on a very steep, west-facing hillside. This is a rugged cool-climate AVA stretching from Half Moon Bay to the northern border of Monterey County. Elevations are high (800 - 3,000 feet) and cool ocean winds and fog are key players. It’s a challenging place to grow grapes, but this is what makes the wines from here so distinctive.
Bryan is one of the only true urban winemakers in SF, working out of an industrial facility in Bayview to make a boatload of tiny lot (<100 cases) natural wines, all from organic (or better) vineyards, with no temperature control, no manipulations, and little or no SO2. We don’t often fall in love with Chardonnay, but his has us smitten. And actually, it has something for everyone to love: an appealing lush, round texture that gives way to bright, tart fruit (think ripe kiwi, white peach, lemon curd), zesty acidity, and a beautiful saltiness from those ocean breezes. It’s like a classic white Burgundy goes to the hippie Santa Cruz Mountain, gets high and takes a dip in the ocean. A most excellent food wine.