The grapes for our Napa Valley Chardonnay Reserve come exclusively from the cool Carneros district. We harvest from sections of various vineyards that feature a variety of small-berried Chardonnay clones, which, in conjunction with the region's typically long, cool growing season, produce fruit with intense, complex flavors.
The 2001 vintage started with a warm March that led to early bud break, followed by April frosts that reduced the Chardonnay crop in some north coasts regions. May and June were warm, but the weather turned cool again in July and August, slowing the ripening process, was steady and uniform despite some hot days in early September. The result in the Carneros district area was a smaller-than-normal crop of fully ripened Chardonnay grapes that retained their crisp acidity and developed intense fruit flavors.
The grapes were night-harvested and whole-cluster pressed to yield fresh, pristine free run juice. After cold-settling in the tank for 36 hours, the must (unfermented grape juice) was transferred to French oak barrels, 75% new, for fermentation. Roughly 30% of the wine underwent a secondary, malolactic fermentation, which enhances mouth feel and imparts a slightly buttery nature. Sur lie (on the yeast lees) aging for 14 months in the barrel added a creamy richness and texture to the wine, which was racked off the lees and bottled in December 2002.
Our 2001 Chardonnay Reserve boasts intense, complex fruit aromas of melon, apple, pineapple and gooseberry, augmented by toasty oak tones and a hint of butterscotch. Deep, dense and full on the palate, it boasts a remarkably long, toasty, creamy finish. This is a big, rich, intensely flavored Chardonnay that should age well in the bottle for 5-8 years.