Our Reserve Chardonnay sends layers of warm spice, baked red apple, toasted hazelnut, and crème brulee in a silky ribbon of flavor across the palate. Its full flavors are rich and intense yet lie on a backbone of refreshing acidity, making for an elegant sip of deliciously complex Carneros Chardonnay.
2014 started with worrisome, drought-like conditions, and many feared a parched, dry spring as in 2013. Refreshingly, spring rains came in February and into March providing water for the soils and filling reservoirs. The wine growing season will most be remembered for the August 24th Napa earthquake that occurred just as harvest was commencing in the Napa Valley. The vines were not affected and harvest finished early, bringing in beautiful, healthy fruit. The fruit for our Reserve Chardonnay was harvested between September 9th and October 10th.
With its cooling marine influences, the southern Carneros region is home to some of Napa Valley’s finest Chardonnays. For the 2014 Reserve, we hand selected fruit from the appellation’s renowned Hyde and Madonna ranches. The region’s climate, combined with clay loam soils, provides ideal conditions for the development of deeply flavored Chardonnay.
We hand-harvested our selected Chardonnay grapes into one-half ton bins at daybreak and gently pressed them as whole clusters to retain fruity flavors and delicacy. A slow, cool native-yeast fermentation took place in 100% Burgundian style barrels for fruit and oak integration, and enhanced mouth feel. One hundred percent of the barrels were French oak, 67 percent new, adding layers of complexity. As the new wine underwent malolactic fermentation, we began stirring each barrel twice a week, re-suspending the yeast lees to gradually build in greater creaminess and further enrich the texture. When the wine reached optimal balance of fruit and oak influence, it was blended and transferred to neutral barrels with the lees to continue aging for a total of 11 months. The wine was bottled in October of 2015.