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La Mesa Chardonnay Awarded

La Mesa Chardonnay Awarded "Best of Class" at 2024 OC Fair

This week, La Mesa Vineyards of Amador County was decorated with two major awards at the 2024 Orange County Fair Commercial Wine Competition.

At 96 points, the La Mesa Chardonnay 2023 received the highest score among all 2,500+ wines entered in the competition, receiving both a Double Gold and a Best of Class award.

Owner-winemaker Côme Laguë reflects on this landmark achievement. "We harvested these Chardonnay grapes from a neighboring vineyard in El Dorado County with 40-year old vines. The vineyard is completely hidden in a forest. In 2022 we were unable to get to the fruit before a terrible frost destroyed all the grapes. Then last year, the bears broke into the vineyard, but fortunately this time we beat them to the fruit. Those bears were onto some great fruit!"

"As a relatively new winery to Amador County, we're entering our wines in the big California wine competitions for the very first time. All the early work we have done to research clones, innovations in winemaking techniques using our Flextank technology are paying off. We've benefited from encouragement from our family and friends during years marked by drought, wildfires, frost events, lockdowns and generally tough business conditions. So it's gratifying to emerge from all that placing among the very best in the state by an expert panel of judges."

"Our Chardonnay grapes were harevsted in late September, whole-cluster pressed using a gentle bladder press and then crash-chilled to settle. Then, they were cold-fermented over 15 days with no secondary malolactic fermentation. We chose not to add oak, so you can taste the pure Chardonnay as it was meant to be. The result is a crisp, clean, fruity and refreshingly different."

Congrats to our neighbouring Amador wineries, some of whom took awards at this competition. We are delighted to be in your company.

The Orange County Fair is one of the largest and most respected wine competitions in the United States, judging wines made from California grapes. Wines are ranked using a double-blind method by some 85 expert judges who also work as winemakers. The Fair takes place in summer and will be attended by an estimated 1.9 million people.

Full results from the competition published at the Orange County Fair website:

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