This Chardonnay remains one of the favorites at the winery, and no wonder. Carneros Chardonnay is distinct, with a touch of elegance, crisp acidity and aromas and flavors of stone fruit, citrus and hints of oak spice. A surprisingly unctuous mouthfeel comes from allowing the fruit to rest on the lees, with regular stirring. And not to be outdone, there’s a dollop of fruit from the heart of the Valley, the notable Gamble Ranch in Oakville, which rounds out the palate and makes the wine even more memorable.
The Historic Stanly Ranch in Los Carneros, which dates to the late 1800s, sits near San Pablo Bay, moderates temperatures and keeps the vineyard relatively cool, even as daily temperatures can be warm. The perfect recipe for crisp, vibrant Chardonnay.
High quality with lower than average yields was the standard for this growing season. The year began with abundant rainfall. Spring weather was mild, resulting in extended flowering in some areas with little shatter. Vines were vigorous thanks to the winter rains. A freak hail storm passed through quickly in June causing isolated damage. Three heat events, including one over Labor Day weekend, kicked harvest into high gear, dehydrating some grapes by early September. Cool weather arrived immediately afterward, allowing sugar levels to return to normal.
Vineyard lots are carefully separated to allow each lot to be evaluated for inclusion in these limited release wines. Chardonnay arrives early and quickly in Carneros, and the fruit is picked at optimal ripeness and flavor to emphasize a fresh, bright and vibrant viewpoint. The wine is 100% barrel fermented, and completes 100% malolactic fermentation, with bi-weekly lees stirring to enhance a creamy, luxurious mouthfeel.