Sterling Napa Valley wines show the depth, strength and expressive quality of California’s most famous wine region. Fruit for Sterling wines is grown throughout Napa Valley, from the cool southern Carneros region next to San Pablo Bay to the rugged northernmost benchlands and reaches near our Calistoga homeplace. Sterling has more than five decades of winemaking excellence in Napa Valley, and winemaker Harry Hansen is able to build from that experience to select the finest lots to create memorable expressions for each vintage.
“A pretty, creamy white with cooked-apple and lemon-meringue character. Lovely texture. Just a hint of yogurt. Flavorful finish. Drink now.” - James Suckling, February 2020
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.
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.
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.
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.
Director of Winemaking Harry Hansen was raised in nearby Sonoma County. “One of my earliest memories of wine was the gallon jug of red wine that we always had at home. I would go with my father to a local winery, maybe in Kenwood or Healdsburg, to refill that jug and chit-chat with the winery proprietors. The aromas of those wines were always something attractive, somehow mysterious, but always memorable.”
Harry joined Sterling Vineyards and relocated to Napa Valley just before the 2011 Harvest. “The opportunity to join such a respected Napa Valley winery is exciting and a fantastic next step in my winemaking career. Sterling Vineyards is making some wonderful wines, and I look forward to taking that next step up in quality and reputation.”
|Oak Treatment||Barrel fermented in French (65%) and American (35%)|