The grapes for our Napa Valley Chardonnay come primarily from the cooler southern half of the valley, ranging from the fog-chilled Carneros district near San Pablo Bay to warmer sites just north of the town of Napa. Blending fruit from a diverse range of microclimates and soils allows us to craft a rich, ripe, elegantly structured Chardonnay, one that drinks beautifully upon release, but also ages well in bottle. To enhance the freshness of our Chardonnay and spare our vineyard workers the high temperatures common during harvest, we pick the majority of our fruit at night, ensuring it arrives at the winery in pristine condition with ripe, fresh flavors and crisp acidity. In 2006, we harvested our Chardonnay grapes between September 20th and October 16th.
The long, cool, 2006 growing season began with a wet winter, which delayed bud break and led to a late flowering of the vines. Good weather arrived in June, only to be followed by a sustained heat wave in July. (Fortunately, we hadn’t pulled any leaves from our vines, so the baby grape clusters were protected from sunburn.) Cool weather returned in August and continued throughout the harvest season, resulting in a long grape ripening period that fostered mature flavors balanced by bright acidity. As a result, our 2006 white wines are fresh, aromatic and elegantly structured, with a youthful tautness that suggests they will age beautifully in the bottle.
We whole-cluster-pressed 100% of our Chardonnay grapes to optimize the freshness and purity of the juice, 75% of which fermented in French oak barrels, 35% new, while the balance fermented in stainless steel tanks to enhance the wine’s fresh fruit character. One tool we increasingly use to enhance our Chardonnay’s quality is sur lie (on the yeast lees) aging in barrel, with periodic stirring of the lees, to enhance textural and flavor richness. By assessing the body and flavor intensity of each lot of our Napa Valley Chardonnay, we determine the optimal amount of stirring for each lot, thus enhancing the complexity of our final blend. In 2006, only 5% of our Napa Valley Chardonnay underwent malolactic fermentation, but 100% aged in barrels for seven months with varying degrees of lees stirring. The result is a fresh, rich, beautifully balanced Chardonnay with classic Napa Valley character.
Our 2006 Napa Valley Chardonnay displays lovely ripe pear and sweet citrus aromas lifted by fragrant white flower and subtle toasty oak scents. On the palate, a sleek entry expands into a creamy, concentrated mid-palate with rich lemon zest, melon, white peach and vanilla flavors segueing seamlessly into a refreshingly flinty, mineral-tinged finish. Revealing all the intensity, depth and structure typical of a long, cool vintage, this classic Napa Valley Chardonnay will age gracefully in the bottle for another 3 to 5 years.
Alcoholic Content: 14.1%
100% Napa Valley
Total Acidity: 0.66g/100ml
9/20/2006 through 10/16/2006
75% French Oak &25% stainless with 5% Malolactic
7 months in French oak, 35% new, with frequent stirring of the lees.