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 2021 Founders Donald

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2021 Founders Donald

 2021 Founders Donald

A tribute to the founder of our estate vineyard, Donald D. Miller, who planted our first vines in 1968.

Tasting Notes

This small-batch, limited-production Chardonnay displays concentrated aromas of candied peach and poached pears infused with butterscotch and a hint of honeysuckle. The palate is full, rich, and creamy with evolving layers of nectarine, freshly baked brioche bread, marzipan, and smoked pecans. Crafted with balance and elegance, the wine exits the palate with soft acidity and lingering notes of creamy, toasted French oak.


90 Points, Paul Gregutt
90 Points, Wine Enthusiast

Vineyard Designation

100% Estate Grown

Vintage Notes

The 2021 vintage will be recorded as one the warmest in Washington State history. A mild winter and warm spring led to bud break during the second week of April – about 1 to 2 weeks earlier than average. In late June, we experienced a heat wave for approximately six weeks with over 35 days of 100+ degree temperatures and some daily highs nearing 118 degrees! This period of extreme heat began when the grapes were in a cluster/ berry size development stage causing the grapes to stress out weeks before we vintners would prefer. Smaller berry sizes led to an overall 30% reduction in crop size for us. Fortunately, the flavors that these smaller berries produced were phenomenal. The rapid ripening pace led to a very early harvest start. By the end of August, we had brought in nearly 150 tons of sparkling wine grapes and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, hands down an August record for us at Airfield. By the end of September, we had crushed every white varietal. October started with nice warm temperatures and the pace of grape harvesting was going very well with ideal ripeness and exceptional quality. By the third week of October, we did see several freezing events causing our canopies to die. With only a limited amount of fruit remaining, it was easy for us to harvest the last remaining fruit before the end of October. In the end, the 2021 vintage made outstanding wine. Our white wines showcase bright fruit aromas with brisk acidity, and our red wines are age-worthy displaying dark fruit elements with structure and finesse.

Winemaking Notes

Sourced from the best Chardonnay blocks that our estate vineyard has to offer, the vines were cropped to low yields for added depth and concentration of flavors. Harvested at optimal maturity in late September, the grapes were sent directly to the press as whole clusters for a very gentle pressing. After the juice was cold-settled for 72 hours, it was racked clean and sent directly to very exclusive French oak barrels for fermentation. The juice was inoculated with a special yeast strain and had temperature ranges from 55-64° F allowing for a lengthy fermentation of about 4 weeks. During malolactic fermentation, the wine was closely monitored to fully complete the process, yet avoid the “buttery” characteristics. Next, the lees were stirred twice a month for four months to build roundness and richness on the palate. Overall, the wine was aged for a total of 11 months in a mixture of 500L puncheons and 228L barrels with the final blend being 100% new French oak.

* Produced in a Vegan Manner (No animal by-products were used in the production of this wine)

Food Pairing

Spring Vegetable Risotto
Gnocchi with Brown-Butter and Sage Sauce
Seared Pork Chops & Gremolata
Roast Chicken or Turkey with Herbs
Lobster Tails with Garlic Lemon Butter
Seafood Bisque, Corn Chowder, or Butternut Squash Soup

  • Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay
  • Appellation: Yakima Valley
  • Aging / Barrel Program: 11 months in 100% new French oak
  • Cases Produced: 132
  • Alcohol: 13.3%
  • pH: 3.59
  • Acidity: 5.7 g/L
  • Ageability: Drink now through 2030 with optimal maturity around 2027. (Serve at 50-55° F)

Download Wine Notes