2005 could well prove to be among California’s most exceptional vintages. As in 2004, budbreak was early due to warm late-winter weather, but spring was cool and rainy, and unseasonably cool temperatures persisted throughout the summer, slowing the ripening process. Classic Indian summer weather arrived in September and October, with no rain or heat spells, bringing the harvest to fruition in picture-perfect conditions. Due to the length of the growing season, our Chardonnay grapes enjoyed an exceptionally long hang time on the vine, developing impressively concentrated flavors at lower sugar levels. The result is a rich, impeccably balanced wine of great depth, length and focus.
The grapes for our Napa Valley Chardonnay come exclusively from the cooler southern half of Napa Valley, ranging from the fog-chilled Carneros district at the southern tip of the valley to vineyards just north of the town of Napa. Blending fruit grown in a variety of different microclimates and soil types enables us to craft a rich, ripe Chardonnay with excellent structure and crisp underlying acidity – a Chardonnay that will age well in the bottle for several years. To maximize the quality of the fruit and avoid subjecting our vineyard workers to the high temperatures common during harvest, 85% was picked at night, by hand, between September 10th and October 27th. As a result, the grapes arrived at the winery cool and in perfect condition, with their ripe, fresh flavors and bright natural acidity perfectly preserved.
Our Chardonnay fruit was 100% whole-cluster-pressed to minimize astringency from the skins. Two-thirds of the juice was fermented in French oak barrels at cool temperatures to foster a perfect balance of ripe fruit, natural acidity and toasty oak. The remaining third was fermented in stainless steel tanks to enhance the final blend’s fresh fruit character. Approximately 16% of the wine – primarily the higher-acid lots – underwent malolactic fermentation, while 100%, including the stainless-fermented lots, aged in French oak barrels, 32% new, for seven months with frequent hand-stirring of the yeast lees. The result is a luscious, beautifully balanced Chardonnay expressing the very best of Napa Valley.
Our 2005 Napa Valley Chardonnay displays fresh, forward, ripe Granny Smith apple, pear and melon fruit accented by mineral, subtle yeast and warm oak spice tones. Full and lush on the palate, with a mouth-filling texture, its multi-layered apple and pear flavors are enriched by subtle yeast and toasty oak tones that extend into a very long finish. Youthfully compact, with superb structure and an ideal balance of fresh fruit, acid and wood tones, this superb Napa Valley Chardonnay will develop beautifully in the bottle for another 3 to 5 years.
Alcoholic Content: 14.3%
Total Acidity: 0.61g/100ml