The extended drought was beginning to cause real concern as the 2016 growing season kicked off, but some welcomed winter rain hinted at the relief to come. After a relatively dry January we enjoyed signiﬁcant rainfall in February, along with mild temperatures. Bud break was early, but was slowed by heavy April showers. While still early by historical standards, picking began about a week later than 2015, and continued at a leisurely pace, allowing the grapes to reach full ﬂavor maturity. A traditionally sized harvest followed the lighter showing of 2015, and the extended season helped to balance the acidity in each varietal and added additional complexity to the layers of ﬂavors. This resulted in wines with outstanding concentration and flavor.
"Coming from Oak Knoll and Carneros and seeing no malolactic fermentation, the 2016 Chardonnay opens with lovely sliced apples, green guava and white peaches with nuances of clotted cream and lightly browned toast. Medium bodied, youthful and with a gentle creaminess, it fills the mouth with stone fruit and spiced apple flavors, finishing with bags of poise and good persistence to boot. 25,000 cases were made." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate
The inviting bouquet expresses aromas of creamy lemon meringue, tropical pineapple, delicate elderflower and hints of raw almond nuttiness which fill the glass and pique your interest in this crisp Chardonnay. On the palate, you’ll find a classic refreshing Chardonnay with a vibrancy of tropical fruit notes that transition into lemon curd and meringue while also maintaining a roundness in texture that is balanced (hinting at the delicate battonage lees stirring during the winemaking process). With well integrated vanilla oak notes, a subtle almond undertones, and a flinty minerality on the finish, this wine is full, rich and bright, yet generous in style and maintains freshness due to its acidity, which creates a Chardonnay of lovely complexity and depth.
The grapes for our Napa Valley Chardonnay were sourced from the cooler southern appellations within Napa Valley, where fog from the San Pablo Bay helps to cool the vineyards throughout the growing season, allowing for ideal preservation of freshness and acidity. The majority of the fruit comes from the Carneros AVA which provides citrus, mineral, and crisp apple notes, with a smaller percentage coming from the Oak Knoll AVA, which contributes more tropical and stone fruit characteristics. These vineyards consistently produce Chardonnay ideal for our style of winemaking with fresh fruit flavors and bright acidity and vibrancy.
Our Napa Valley Chardonnay is gently whole-cluster pressed, in order to preserve the fresh, floral aromatics naturally occurring in the fruit. Twenty-five percent of the wine is fermented in stainless steel and remains in tank until the final blend is assembled. The winemaking hand remains light, with twenty-five percent of the wine fermented and aged in new French oak barrels and the remaining fifty percent in seasoned French oak. This specific barrel treatment helps preserve the essential purity of the fruit while adding subtle notes of oak complexity. The 2016 vintage, as usual, did not undergo malolactic fermentation, which helps to further maintain the fruit’s natural acidity and aromatic freshness. The wine was bottled after just six months of maturation with a weekly battonage, putting the yeast lees in suspension in order to release subtle aromatics, increase the mouthfeel, and prevent reductive qualities.