2011 - Origami - Chardonnay - Bennett Valley


Hailing from three vineyards in the Bennett Valley AVA
Barrel Aged on heavy lees for 15 months in 100% New French Oak
Tank finished for 10 weeks in steel before bottling
It’s in the folds…

If there is one thing Argot NEVER shies away from it is expressing a profound love for the mighty Chardonnay grape and the glorious wines she produces here in California. The excitement factor that exists in the glass of a great California Chardonnay is one of the most accessible and satisfying in all the wine world. If proof is required, swirl, sniff and sip no further than 2011’s Origami.

As has been alluded to on these pages in the past, 2011 was not for the faint of heart. Chardonnay experienced particularly difficult ripening conditions due to an unseasonably cool summer followed by the onset of early autumn rains—a lethal combination for Chardonnay success. At this point you may be asking, how is it that in such a perilous vintage the Argot Chardonnay fell into the 2011 thorn bush and came out smelling like a rose? Like all questions of this nature, the answer remains the same…a little bit of luck and a whole lot of hard work.

For starters, Origami differs from any of its portfolio predecessors by not arriving from a single source. Diversification played a key role in the success of this wine. In addition to our highly-cherished, old vines at Simpatico Ranch (of Old Habits and Hidden Truths fame), Origami added two new vineyards to the mix: Greendale and Steiner Ranch.

While both vineyards exist in the Bennett Valley appellation, instead of dwelling on the Valley’s floor, a la Simpatico Ranch, these two new sources are hillside plantings climbing approximately 1000 feet in elevation. This proved crucial in achieving an extra level of ripeness the valley floor did not attain.

Origami continues Argot’s house style many of you have come to embrace—sur lie fermentation in predominantly new French oak, full malo-lactic fermentation, bâttonage (though less than in previous vintages due to the delicacy of the fruit in 2011) and low sulfur additions (though more than in previous vintages due to the delicacy of the fruit in 2011).

Origami is a more powerful Chardonnay than 2010’s Hidden Truths. Though not a massive wine (the alcohol is nearly the equivalent to 2010), its strength and depth is obvious from first nosing the glass. A deep well of orange-leaning citrus and marzipan accenting brioche and creamed corn ravages the bouquet. In the mouth, contradictorily zesty/lush textures exist side-by-side delivering everything the nose promises—lush grapefruit, damp crushed stone, zesty creaminess—with a finish that ascends into hazelnut and apple tart.

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