Proud + Passionate + Uncaged



2016 - Santa Lucia Highlands 


Honey-colored in the glass, Z. Alexander Brown Chardonnay exudes bright aromas of white peach, grilled pineapple and Meyer lemon with hints of toasted oak and baking spice. A rich, velvety mouthfeel is supported by core flavors of apricot, tangerine, vanilla and bees wax. These complex, layered flavors extend into the finish. This Chardonnay is well-balanced; full-bodied with an acidic undertone, making it a perfect pairing with a wide range of fare.

– Winemaker, John Killebrew


The 2016 growing season opened with relatively warm temperatures around March prompting budburst. This continued until veraison at the beginning of July and through summer, allowing our fruit to slowly ripen all season long.  From there the weather was remarkably cool, characteristic for the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation known for producing complex and intense Chardonnay. The climate here is perfect for coaxing the delicate fruit flavors and maintaining excellent acidity in this wine. The smaller clusters and berries led to concentrated flavors and aromas in the resulting wine. The harvest weather was relatively warm with a couple of heat spells at the beginning of September which moved everything along beautifully, until we picked the first couple weeks of October.


Throughout the growing season, winemaker John Killebrew visited each vineyard block regularly until he determined the right moment to harvest. The Chardonnay grapes were harvested in early October at the peak of ripeness. The fruit was quickly transferred to the winery, where it was de-stemmed and gently pressed into either French and American oak barrels or stainless steel tanks. These decisions were determined by the fruit’s flavors and characteristics: leaner lots were fermented in stainless steel to preserve the delicate aromas and retain natural acidity, while the richer lots were transferred to age and ferment on oak. Following primary fermentation, all lots underwent either complete or partial malolactic fermentation, depending on the desired acidity levels of the wine. After several months of aging, the final blend was chosen from the best lots of the vintage.

- John Killebrew, Winemaker

Technical Notes

Santa Lucia Highlands
Total Acid:
0.57 g/100ml

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