Durant Chardonnay 'Lark Block' 2019
A Wine That
Kelley has created the most perfect description for, so we won't even try to beat it! She says, "Metaphorically, the 2019 is more like a still Blanc de Blanc of a grower Champagne and less like a Meursault. Both taste and drink as 100% Oregon, and I’m using these terms only to help describe their characters to help you decide. The 2019 is pale, lemon-apricot, brilliant, and transparent. The nose begins with powdery minerals and has none of the tropical fruits that my 2018 has, but has lovely, delicate and fine notes of citrus and vanilla bean pods (no new oak-this is from the fruit!). The mouth is smooth and silky, and has racy acidity. Full of tension and high octave energy (it’s quite young, after all)".
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- Delivery: Delivery and gift wrapping options available at checkout.
- Winemaker: Kelley Fox
Where and How?
This comes from the beautiful and historic Durant Vineyard in the Dundee Hills A.V.A. of Oregon, planted in 1973 by the Durant family, who continue to live and farm there. Kelley says, "They are wonderful people, and it’s a dream come true to make wine from their vineyard. Durant Vineyard is on the southern slopes of the classic Dundee Hills neighboring Domaine Drouhin. The Dundee Hills for a very long time has been referred to as the “heart of the wine country”. Though the soil there is volcanic with silt, clay, and loam (“Jory”), the Lark Block, the source of my Durant Chardonnay, is from a block of vines planted on a small parcel of unusual ancient marine soil in 1991."
The wine fermented naturally in stainless and concrete amphora tanks, after which it was racked to old Burgundy barrels (228L) made from where it underwent malolactic fermentation, and where it aged.
The Winemaker: Kelley Fox
Oregon natural winemaker, Kelley Fox, is one of the pioneers in the Dundee Hills for creating soulful low intervention organically farmed expressions of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, particularly from the renowned Maresh Farms. Kelley is the steward of the vines she rents and farms near her home, and the person who turns their fruit into wine. And as she tells us, earnestly; “someone asked me recently if I call myself a natural wine producer, and truthfully, the answer is that I don’t have a title. My wines are made for anyone in a body; if it’s delicious to them, and alleviates even the smallest bit of human condition.”
It’s not about owning land, or achieving status or winning hearts; Kelley’s place as a winemaker is to bring to life the ‘message or song’ of a place.
Although she doesn't own land, Kelley rents give vineyards. The majority of her fruit comes from the Maresh vineyard in Dundee Hills (planted in 1970 and run by the Maresh family—good friends of hers), and the Weber Vineyard, also in Dundee Hills and planted in 1978. It is a magical, wild place. She explains,
“It’s mostly volcanic soils, silt clay. Maresh vineyard is truly a farm; it wasn’t planted to be a vineyard as a monoculture where, you know, Oregon White Oak trees were stripped and all the trees were cleared and you just see rows and rows of vines. No, you see a pruned farm and it still has stands of walnut trees, some 100 years old. And cherry trees—heirloom cherries—and open land and forest that is not farmed at all; a place for the bees.”