Mer Soleil Chardonnay is made in a complex, barrel-fermented style reminiscent of the white wines of Burgundy but with the generous, sun-ripened flavors of California. The Mer Soleil Vineyard, developed by the Wagner family beginning in 1988, is named for two natural forces that create its growing conditions: sea (mer) and sun (soleil). With plantings at two separate locations in the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation of Monterey County, Mer Soleil’s Chardonnay vines are nestled on east-facing lower slopes of the Sierra de Salinas range in what is one of the coolest, driest grape growing areas in California.
In the winery, all the vineyard lots are kept separate, fermented in French oak barrels chosen lot by lot from an array of coopers. Depending on the vintage, a varying portion will undergo malolactic fermentation. The length of barrel aging is also adjusted lot by lot. Finally, the wine is assembled, with the goal of maintaining the distinctive and complementary flavor layers and balancing acidity.
At the Mer Soleil Vineyard, planted primarily to Chardonnay, the Wagners also grow Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, and experimental blocks of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Johannisberg Riesling.