Fragrant aromas of crisp apple, citrus led by lemon zest and lime, lemon crème and toasted hazelnut lead to a richly textured wine with layers of similar flavors, enhanced with a honey almond and stone fruit character. A luminous, pale gold color hints at the nicely balanced and elegant entry with bright acidity and creamy roundness. The finish is persistent and memorable.
Sourcing for this Napa Valley Chardonnay comes from a selection of prestigious vineyards, leading with the Rodgers Vineyard from the Oak Knoll AVA, and also adding fruit from the Oak Knoll Ranch, giving the wine its plush roundness and fruit-forward characteristics. A small amount of Chardonnay fruit also comes from Yountville Ranch southern, cooler growing regions, adding balanced acidity to the rich fruit flavors.
Early season rains brought yields back to normal levels this year, mitigating the extended drought that afflicted most of California. A cool spring resulted in normal timing for bud break, in late March. Temperatures remained fairly cool in May and June, but high temperatures in July and again in early September triggered an early start to harvest. Quality was solid for the vintage overall.
The Chardonnay fruit was harvested in the cool morning hours and sent directly to press at the winery. The majority of the fruit was barrel fermented in French (65%) and American (35%) oak to impart rich texture and added spice notes. In the 2017 vintage only a small portion of the blend (10%) was fermented in stainless-steel tanks to capture bright fruit character and retain fresh acidity. Some 90% of the wine was allowed to complete malolactic fermentation. The final wine is elegant and shows a core of beautiful fruit character with balanced, bright acidity.