Luminus, meaning “light” in Latin, naturally represents the radiance of this exceptional Chardonnay. Like the brightness and purity the name conjures, Chardonnay from the Oak Knoll district is distinct for its uncommon focus. Big Ranch Vineyard offers fruit known for its elegance and balance.
Luminus is fresh and lively with aromas of white floral blossom, honeysuckle, and ripe citrus fruits. The intriguing aromas unfold into layers of flavor where white apricot, fresh apple, the essence of bergamot, and lemon curd notes are interwoven with whipped meringue, spiced Asian pear, and delicate almond notes. The judicious use of French oak offers subtle nutty spice character and the bâttonage treatment provides an unexpectedly plush mouthfeel and texture with mouthwatering crisp acidity leading to a long, pleasing finish with delicate hints of stone minerality.
The 2020 season will be remembered for factors beyond the typical harvest season. It was a warm, dry winter, and the rain and cooler weather didn’t arrive until the end of March. While the mild spring season was a great early start, our winery working conditions had extensive safety protocols due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Summer brought very cool mornings and very warm days, but then harvest was interrupted by wildfires across California, which came as grapes started to be picked, and we were very fortunate that none of our vineyards were in the areas of the active fires. The white wine harvest started in early August, the wines are showing excellent development in cellars, reflecting the fine vintage year. While the red wine harvest will be smaller yielding and proved to be one of the most challenging in history, our winemakers remained optimistic and very complimentary of the high quality achieved from this unprecedented vintage. Grapes for 2020 Luminus were picked between September 1st and September 22nd.
Luminus is a single vineyard Chardonnay from Big Ranch Vineyard, located in the Oak Knoll AVA. Located on the valley floor and at the southern end of the Napa Valley, Big Ranch is an ideal location for this style of Chardonnay owing to the heavy clay soils and cooling influence of the San Pablo Bay and nearby Napa River, preserving nice acidity and minerality in the grapes. A selection of Burgundian clones which show excellent early development provide an elegant complexity and fruit weight to the blend.
Each Chardonnay lot was kept separate throughout the aging process. After sending the fruit directly to press, the juice is fermented in neutral French oak barrels (28% percent new). The lees were stirred every other week to integrate the subtle oak notes and develop a polished texture. Winemaking is focused on showcasing the unique characteristics of Oak Knoll Chardonnay at the highest level and achieved that with the final blend made after eight months of aging in barrels.