Picardy Chardonnay is made from equal portions of the four preferred clones 76, 95, 96 and 277 (selected by the University of Dijon) to achieve complexity.
The Pannells are looking towards the great white wines of the old world for inspiration and look to make a Chardonnay with floral characters, citrus fruits and minerality with good structure and texture.
Excellent fruit intensity, structure, pH to acid relationship and fine-grained tannins guarantee long life and excellent bottle development. The wines are also very approachable in their early years.
In the Vineyard
The Chardonnay vines carry a maximum of 7 tonnes per hectare, excess fruit being hand-crop thinned at veraison. In order to achieve low yields the vineyard is non-irrigated and cane pruned. Picking time for the Chardonnay is usually around early March. The fruit is ripened to approximately 12° baume, but this is not recipe winemaking and fruit flavour ultimately determines picking dates. The fruit is then handpicked and transported to the winery (only 200 metres away) on the Picardy estate.
In the Winery
In the winery approximately 40% of the Chardonnay is whole bunch pressed and the remainder is destemmed and then pressed. The juice is settled for 48 hours before being racked and the fermentation is then commenced in tank using two different yeast strains to give fruit complexity and texture. Shortly thereafter the wine is racked to a blend of new to four year old French oak barriques to complete fermentation.
While in oak the wine undergoes partial malolactic fermentation. During this period they are lees stirred once per week. Each barrel is checked and topped up weekly. After about 10 months in oak the wine is racked out of barrel to tank and then given a gentle filtration on its way to bottle.