This Chardonnay is a story of balance, a delicious intersection of richness and minerality that benefits from the classical standard of viticulture, care of the land, and winemaking that is as relevant today as it was in 1893 when Stags' Leap Winery celebrated its first vintage.
“A beautiful, complex chardonnay with sliced apples and pears, as well as hints of cream and matchstick. Full body. Stone fruit. Long and flavorful. Drink now.” - James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, February2020
The fragrant citrus blossom bouquet opens with aromas of delicate Meyer lemon and lime zest, fresh white peach and floral honeysuckle, alongside more subtle hints of Tarte Tatin and brioche toast (a nod to the well-integrated French Oak) which fills the glass and encourages you to dive into this lively Chardonnay. The palate is refreshingly mouthwatering with nuances of lemon meringue, green apple, guava and Asian pear, while also showing a luscious texture that is rich and balanced (hinting at the delicate batonnage lees stirring that occurs during the winemaking process). With well-integrated vanilla and caramel oak notes and extraordinary length and depth on the finish, this wine is round, full and bright, yet generous in style and maintains a core of freshness due to its acidity, which creates an elegant Chardonnay full of grace and complexity.
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.
The Napa Valley region enjoyed a stunning, near picture-perfect 2018 growing season including good winter rains, mild spring weather and steady temperatures throughout that allowed for even flowering and bud break. These ideal growing conditions were followed by a cool, even and slow-paced harvest which allowed the winery to vinify wines at a gentle pace. The resulting 2018 wines are of very high quality with lower alcohol, concentrated flavors, color and excellent acidity.
Our Napa Valley Chardonnay is gently whole-cluster pressed, in order to preserve the fresh 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, twenty-five percent of the wine is 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 2018 vintage, as usual, did not undergo malolactic fermentation, which helps to further maintain the fruit’s natural acidity, terroir expression and aromatic freshness. The wine was bottled after just six months of maturation with a weekly batonnage, putting the yeast lees in suspension to increase the mouthfeel, and prevent reductive aromas.