This is a wine of great intensity from a vineyard that expresses a distinctive mineral component. The resulting wine has a focused, intense character that feels light and pure, finishing with refreshing mineral, white flower and citrus nuances.
The vineyard source for Chers Amis is located just south of Lingua Franca Estate. Here the soil is very shallow Nekia and Witzel soils, with less than two feet of topsoil is sections. This imparts a more mineral and structured character to the wine, balanced with the energetic and vibrant fruit.
The 2020 Chers Amis is focused, precise and crunchy with minerals. It has a richer palate and longer finish than some of the earlier vintages, due to the participation of the special selection of 548 Chardonnay grown at the Lingua Franca Estate. The length and complexity of the wine and its diamond brightness of flavor are compelling and hold the promise of greater things to come from its evolution in bottle. Aromas of gunflint and wet limestone, hawthorn blossom, chamomile, lemon peel; a palate of fresh lemon and herbs, ripe peach, with a silky yet firm texture, and a very bright and long finish.
Fortunately, much of our organically grown Chardonnay at the vineyard ripened before the fires began and we harvested unaware of the impending disaster around the corner. We also picked the newer plantings of Chardonnay that we had grafted over in 2018 from Blocks 6 and 9. These were remarkable, confirming our decision to change the Pinot into Chardonnay, and were selected to go into this vintage of Chers Amis for the first time. We think that the new sites higher up on the hill will continue to be superb additions for the Estate and may someday go into Sisters.
Very little of this wine has been made because of the loss of crop, but this exceptional fruit was hand-picked, field sorted, whole berry pressed, settled for 24 hours in air-tight tanks, spontaneously fermented by wild yeast in 600-liter puncheons with no acid additions, then aged in the same barrel sur lie for 10 months before being assembled in an airtight stainless-steel tank for 6 months prior to bottling.
Food Pairing Notes
This wonderful edition of Chers Amis should be served with the finest fish dishes, such as salmon with a sorrel sauce or a lemon beurre blanc. Sautéed halibut with fennel pollen, or turbot, flounder, or cod with butter and lemon and mild herbs such as marjoram or thyme. It would also work with a whole roast chicken stuffed with lemon and thyme or be delicious served with a mild, Chinese style stir fry of prawns and vegetables, made with chicken stock, ginger, garlic and a dash of oyster sauce. Finally, lobster, crab and langoustine in all their preparations are excellent with this lovely edition of Chers Amis.