The 2010 growing season was our coolest and longest ever. The temperatures were below normal in the spring and summer, delaying the ripening process. A late heat spike in September helped spur the ripening process while moist weather in October encouraged the development of Botrytis. After harvest, the juice underwent a long, slow, cool barrel fermentation using a special yeast strain from Sauternes. When the perfect balance between sugar, acid and alcohol was reached, the fermentation was stopped. The wine was then aged for 21 months in French oak barrels.
Since its founding in the 1972, Chalk Hill Estate has been recognized as one of California's benchmark producers. Our 1300+-acre property is located at the convergence of a number of diverse climates, soils and terrains in the northeastern hills of Sonoma County. The complexity of the terroir enables our winery to produce an extraordinary range of wines from nearly 300 acres of vineyards woven amongst the native oak woodlands, meadows and streams. Our Semillon is planted on a cool, low lying, protected site with shallow clay soils that are well suited to this Bordeaux native. This block is perfectly situated to promote the growth of Botrytis cinerea, or noble rot. It’s this mold that helps create the world’s best late harvest wines. Our Botrytised Semillon is made only when the weather conditions allow.