The 2000 vintage featured an early bud break, a mild,
sunny spring and summer, and, in some regions, a large crop. Weather
was ideal during the growing season, especially for early-ripening varieties
like Chardonnay, but a cool October delayed the ripening of red varieties.
In the Carneros district, a characteristically long growing season,
combined with a modest crop, yielded Chardonnay grapes that reached
optimum maturity in late September while retaining a desirable level
The grapes for our Napa Valley Reserve Chardonnay come
exclusively from the cool Carneros district, primarily from the highly
regarded Hudson Vineyard. We harvest from sections of Hudson 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.
Fermentation & Aging:
The grapes were night-harvested and whole-cluster pressed
to yield fresh, pristine free run juice. After cold settling in tank
for 36 hours, the must (unfermented grape juice) was transferred to
French oak barrels, 75% new, for fermentation. Roughly 50% of the wine
underwent a secondary, malolactic fermentation, which enhances mouth
feel and imparts a slightly buttery tone. Sur lie (on the yeast lees)
aging for 14 months in barrel added a creamy richness and texture to
the wine, which was racked off the lees and bottled in January 2002.
Our 2000 Reserve Chardonnay boasts intense, complex fruit
aromas of melon, apple, gooseberry, and citrus, overlain by toasty oak
tones and a hint of butteriness. Deep, dense and full on the palate,
it has an amazingly long, toasty, creamy finish, which seems to last
for minutes. A big, broad, very rich Chardonnay, this wine should age
well in the bottle for 5-8 years.