This Chardonnay is the very first for Kelley Fox Wines (though not for me as an Oregon winemaker). These beautiful, mature vines were planted in 1991 on a gentle, east-facing slope of ancient marine soil in the Dundee Hills. The Durant family started planting their vines on this farm in 1974, and have been living there and working there since. I don’t like talking much about clones, but I should write that these are Dijon 96-known in Burgundy for producing nervy, finely-balanced, and elegant wines.
This wine was whole cluster pressed on the day of picking and then racked to two uterine-shaped concrete amphora tanks where they underwent primary fermentation naturally (no inoculation with yeasts). The fermentations were very healthy, and took about two weeks or so to finish. When the wine was dry, the Durant Chardonnay was racked into neutral French oak barrels for élevage and malolactic fermention.
The Durant 2018 is a pale lemon colour with the slightest hint of that yellow-green that newly unfurled leaves have at the beginning of spring. It is both brilliant and utterly transparent. The nose is full of minerality, citrus and a hint of Asian fruit. The minerals and citrus continue in the mouth, and the acidity brings tension and suspension despite the richness one anticipates in the nose. The texture is lovely and long, and on this day as I write, it is a handsome kind of beautiful. I found the wine to open up a lot more on the second day after opening. Time in the bottle seems to be a good idea.