The growing season of 2003 began unpredictably, with unusual heat spells in March followed by cold, rainy weather in April, which set back vine growth and reduced yields on early ripening varieties like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot. Fortunately, once summer arrived, the weather turned picture-perfect, with an ideal balance of cool mornings and warm afternoons, no rainfall, and a few well-timed heat spikes in September to accelerate ripening. These conditions enabled the grapes to retain their natural acidity while attaining full physiological maturity.
Our Napa Valley Chardonnay represents a blend of grapes from the cool Carneros region in southern Napa Valley and fruit from vineyards in the warmer northern half of the valley. This district blending enables us to produce a Chardonnay with the rich, ripe fruit flavors typical of warmer microclimates balanced by the crisp acidity characteristic of cool-climate fruit. In 2003, the grapes from our various vineyards were harvested between September 15th and October 9th.
All of the fruit was hand-harvested in early morning and whole cluster pressed to ensure the freshest, purest juice. After cold-settling in tank for 36 hours, 80% of the juice was fermented in French oak barrels, 35% new, with 20% fermenting in stainless steel tanks. Multiple yeasts were employed to enhance the wine's complexity, and a small percentage of the blend underwent a secondary, malolactic fermentation to add roundness and a slight creamy tone to the wine's texture. The entire blend was aged sur lie (on the yeast lees) for eight months in barrel to add richness, depth and intensity to the wine, which was racked off the lees and bottled in June 2004.
Our very aromatic 2003 Napa Valley Chardonnay offers delightfully forward aromas of ripe pears and apples, with intriguing scents of guava and banana. On the palate, the wine boasts a full, fleshy texture and rich, ripe flavors balanced by subtle, spicy oak tones and an excellent underpinning of acidity. Delicious now, this very flavorful Napa Valley Chardonnay will gain additional bouquet and complexity with 18-24 months of further bottle age.
Alcoholic Content: 14.1%
Total Acidity: 0.68g/100ml