- Producer: FEL Wines
- Winemaker: Ryan Hodgins
- Region (AVA): Anderson Valley (Anderson Valley)
- Blend: 100% Chardonnay
- Vintage production: 4,133 cases
- Winery location: Anderson Valley
- Owners: Cliff Lede
- First vintage: 2012
- Drinking window: 2020-2025+
About The Wine
FEL Wines produces Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris from the Anderson Valley and the Sonoma Coast. Meticulously crafted by Winemaker Ryan Hodgins, FEL also features a unique portfolio of vineyard designate wines, including both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the estate Savoy Vineyard. The letters in FEL represent Florence Elsie Lede, founder Cliff Lede’s mother, a home winemaker who provided the early inspiration for Cliff’s love of wine.
Growing up in Alberta, Canada, Cliff remembers the tulip as signifying the end of winter, bringing with it a freshness and excitement of warmer days ahead. The FEL Wines label, featuring an illustration of an opening tulip, is a tribute to Florence’s passion for gardening.
This Chardonnay is a blend of numerous Heritage clones and Dijon selections. Sources include the estate Savoy Vineyard, long recognized as a benchmark vineyard in Anderson Valley, and the vaunted Ferrington Vineyard.
The fruit was harvested between September 13th and October 17th at an average of 22.3° Brix, then gently whole cluster pressed to tank, where it settled for 24 hours. Fermentation occurred in neutral French oak barrels to provide richness and body while showcasing the beautiful fruit, and very limited malolactic fermentation was permitted to preserve the wine’s freshness and acidity. The wine was aged sur lie, without stirring, for ten months.
The 2018 vintage will be remembered for its consistently mild weather and even growing conditions. A dry winter turned into a very wet March, which replenished the ground water and refilled the ponds. After a final rainstorm in early April, the weather turned pleasant and sunny, with only a handful of days breaking 80°F before mid-June. The weather was perfect for bloom and the result was a larger than normal number of grape berries per cluster. Careful thinning in the vineyards prevented the abundant crop from becoming diluted. The summer progressed without any notable heat spikes until a small heat wave in late September, after most of the grapes had been already harvested. The wines from 2018 are fruit-forward and have a fresh acidity that will allow them to age well for many years.
FEL Wines Anderson Valley Chardonnay 2018
"Fresh, vibrant fruit aromas and flavors drive this full-bodied and well-balanced wine. It floods the palate with flavors of crisp apple, ripe pear and a touch of pineapple while subtle hints of baking spice play in the background."
92 points, Wine Enthusiast (Jan. 2020)