Our 2016 Carneros Chardonnay offers lifted notes of Meyer lemon perfume, nuances of honeysuckle and jasmine, white peach and Anjou green pear, supported by a gentle framing of toasty spiced oak. A
Aging on the lees enhanced the wine’s texture and weight on the palate, creating the silky mouthfeel, allowing for a very well balanced wine with persistence and length. The wine is exquisitely balanced between lemony acidity and creamy complexity, and graced by oak spice from barrel fermentation and aging.
Sitting along the southern border of both Sonoma and Napa Counties, the first inaugural vintage of the 2016 Carneros Chardonnay shows a beautiful sense of place from outstanding sites in the Carneros American Viticultural Area (AVA), which is famous for its rolling hills, cool Pacific winds and fog. Shallow clay loam soils and the marine-influenced climate, located near the San Pablo Bay, foster expressions of classic cool-climate characteristics, offering a beautifully balanced Chardonnay, with a tasting profile of lush white peach and citrus zest aromas. Sourced from Sangiacomo and Winery Lake vineyards, along with a few other Carneros vineyard sites, each block was picked at its peak maturity.
While the region received about two-thirds of normal rainfall, the effect of the three previous years of drought resulted in smaller clusters and grape size in 2016. However, the small crop and high skin-to-juice ratio gave the wine excellent concentration. Waves of warmer and cooler temperatures typified the vintage, and the overall temperate weather made for an easy growing season. Ideal temperatures during bloom in May provided for better fruit-set than in 2015; although yields were still slightly below average, quality was fabulously high.
We harvested the Chardonnay into small bins at night and rushed the fruit to our winery.
After gently pressing the whole clusters, we barrel fermented all of the wine in small oak barrels to add layers of flavor and texture complexity.
Stirring the yeast (sur lie) during the 12 months of aging in French oak barrels (35% new) enhanced the silky mouthfeel, and integrated subtle creamy nuances from the 100% malolactic fermentation process.
This Chardonnay’s vibrant acidity and beautiful balance make it a wonderful accompaniment to many dishes, including chicken, shellfish and seafood.