The 2018 Cadenza Chardonnay is a testament to what I've been trying to accomplish at Allegro for the past 20--ok, not quite 20--years. The vintage was one of the most trying years we've ever experienced, rivaled only by 2003 and 2009 with their extraordinary combinations of cool weather and precipitation.
Since 2013, I've felt like I've been on a roll with our Chardonnays from this vineyard. The older vines have always had a depth and maturity about them that seemed impervious to the vagaries of the weather systems. Even in the weaker years of 2015 and 2014, we've produced seemingly remarkable wines with hints of opulence balanced by depths of complexity out of those vines. 2018 seemed to be on track to do the same.
Somewhere along the way, everything came off the rails....or rather, it never got on the rails. Cooler temps gave way to more of the same, while rain dotted the horizon and blanketed out fruit. When all was said and done, we were left with a purity of flavors in the bottle that spoke more about what was not said than what was easily noticed.
With the 2018 vintage we received a wonderfully balanced wine that quietly gave testament to struggles of its time in the open air in the Brogue. There's a focused fruit character balanced by nuanced barrel signatures. No overt oak influence, but rather a lifting up ("elevage") of the wine to its singular space.
I think back on the 1992 Chardonnays that I have tasted. The hurricanes that ravaged that vintage wreaked havoc on the reds, and a hard-won Cadenza barely emerged. But the Chardonnay that I've had the honor to enjoy has been lively, fruit-forward balanced and youthful even after two and a half decades. My hope is that the 2018 light live up to the 1992.