Established in 1893, Stags’ Leap Winery is one of the oldest wine estates within the acclaimed Stags Leap district, producing wines expressive of its unique terroir. With an enduring winemaking philosophy of minimal intervention, and by using the finest grapes from our own 80-acre vineyard and from quality-focused growers, Stags’ Leap wines embody a natural balance, exhibiting both intensity and finesse.
"The oak in this wine is restrained, partly because it aged in stainless steel and a sizable percentage of neutral oak. Still, a richness of apple and pear compote provide a steady level of richness, while a lemon squeeze of acidity keeps it fresh and youthful." - Virginie Boone, August 2016
Aromas of lemon zest, tart white peach and crisp pear show generously in this refreshing cool-climate Chardonnay. On the palate, vibrant citrus fruit intensity is balanced by a wet stone core and nutty undertones. Focused, yet generous in style, the wine has notable acidity that maintains freshness and lasting lemon minerality that adds complexity.
The grapes for the Napa Valley Chardonnay were sourced from southern Napa, where fog from the San Pablo Bay helps to cool the vineyards throughout the growing season, allowing for ideal preservation of acidity. 67% of the fruit comes from the Carneros AVA, with the remaining 33% from the Oak Knoll AVA. These vineyards consistently produce Chardonnay ideal for our style of winemaking with crisp fruit flavors and bright acidity.
Despite drought conditions, the 2014 vintage proved to be ideal, with excellent quality reminiscent of 2012 and 2013. The winter was one of the driest on record in California, but substantial rains in early spring were timely and set up the vines for a strong start. Summer temperatures were milder than expected with no extremes, and after early budbreak and verasion, harvest was unusually early in 2014.
The grapes for the Napa Valley Chardonnay were handpicked and gently whole cluster pressed. In order to preserve the fresh floral aromatics, 25% of the wine was fermented in stainless steel and remained in tank until the final blend was assembled. The winemaking hand remains light with 25% of the wine fermented and aged in new French oak barrels and the remaining 50% in seasoned French oak. This specific barrel treatment helps preserve the essential purity of the fruit while adding subtle notes of oak complexity. The 2014 vintage, as usual, did not undergo malolactic fermentation to further maintain the fruit’s natural acidity and aromatic freshness. The wine was bottled after just six months of maturation with a weekly batonnage, putting the yeast lees in suspension in order to release subtle aromatics, increase the mouth feel and prevent reduction.
Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay