Sonoma County, California
Born in Chicago to a large Irish family, wine did not play a role in winemaker Justin Harmon’s life growing up. The industrial beers of the Midwest were his drink of choice for family parties, and milk was best for the dinner table. His love of wine came from a series of experiences, places visited, bottles opened and friendships forged.
Although he has a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, Justin’s curiosity about wine inspired him to study enology textbooks published by UC Davis, while also making wine in his basement. The chance opportunity to be involved with California’s 2005 harvest, for a single day’s work, provided his first look behind the curtain. The hook was set. The following year brought him back to California to participate in Sonoma County’s 2006 harvest as a full-fledged cellar hand and Vinify, run by former Bacchus & Venus wine superstar, Matt Duffy. A second turn as cellar hand, during 2007’s harvest, afforded an opportunity to ferment and raise the single ton of Syrah grapes upon which Argot (\ ärgō \ : a shared language, borne from intimacy, associated with tight-knit groups brought together by a common interest) was founded.
The 2018 Argot Chardonnay comes from multiple Sonoma County vineyards with a focus on the significantly cool AVAs of Bennett Valley and Sonoma Mountain. With 600 cases produced, this 100% Chardonnay is created from grapes that were allowed an extended ripening period on the vine, resulting in a perfect balance and concentration of flavors. Justin uses minimalistic methods, often associated with classic Chardonnay winemaking techniques of Meursault. With a focus on the coolest Chardonnay region in Sonoma County, 2018’s long, even growing season favored the vineyards’ moderate climate, old vines, and deep volcanic soils.
After aging 11 months in primarily once-used French oak barrels this oaky Chardonnay would be the perfect accompaniment to a seasonal pumpkin ravioli. Red peppers, corn, butternut squash, and pumpkin are wonderfully paired with a rich Chardonnay such as this one. The vegetable-forward dishes can stand up to the extra degree of richness in the wine.
Jennie Kaplan Woodson – January 2021