2017 Donnachadh Chardonnay, Santa Rita Hills, California, USA

Meyer lemon, light mint and oak aromas show on the very exciting and inviting nose. The light kiss of oak on the palate frames yuzu zest, chamomile and crushed sea-shell flavors.


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Grapes were picked by hand at ripeness levels chosen to provide bright acidity and fruit flavors. At the winery, each batch of whole cluster grapes was pressed after light food treading while still cool. This Chardonnay fermented naturally in French oak barrels, and then aged on lees for 11 months before bottling. Additional warm spice notes come from 25% new oak barrels.


Donnachadh is a 4th century Scottish Gaelic name ancestral to modern Clan Duncan. The clan motto, disce pati, means "learn to endure” and uva means “grape.” Pronunciation is DON-nuh-kuh. Family owned and organically farmed, Donnachadh Vineyard is located on Santa Rosa Road in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA of Santa Barbara County. That's prime territory for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and cool climate Syrah. It's also the culmination of a dream for owners Laurie and Drew Duncan.

The Duncans followed a passion for wine into the pursuit of a site to plant their own estate property. After an expansive search they found a two hundred eighty-five acre gem in a fine neighborhood. The hard work of planning and planting the vineyard is now done, but Donnachadh's wine timeline is just beginning.

They strive to make wines that express the beauty of the vineyards. The Duncans were inspired by the wines of Burgundy and the Northern Rhone, but wanted to make wines that recognize the uniqueness of Santa Rita Hills. The cool climate and ocean breeze allow the grapes to ripen more slowly, developing rich, complex flavors while still retaining a bright natural acidity. There is a noticeable salinity, too, that further reminds one of the maritime environment that the wines come from. Finally, the varied terrain and soils, from the steep, rocky upper hillside to the gently rolling riverside blocks allow us to develop a lot of complexity and contrast within a relatively small area.

At harvest, the Duncans try to walk the line between capturing pleasing, ripe fruit flavors and keeping in touch with the subtle flavors and aromas that really make the site unique. Donnachadh aims to produce wines that express the fruit, the sun, the soil and, overall, have a feeling of depth, transparency, and inner calm. The Duncans want to make wines that will pair well with a meal, but that will also stand up to closer scrutiny -- that can be rewarding on their own.


Grape(s) Chardonnay
Farming Organic