90 points - Wine Advocate
"The 2016 Chardonnay Reserve (aged 17 months in 67% new French oak) opens with understated grapefruits and lemon curd notes over notions of cedar, chalk dust and allspice. Medium-bodied, the palate delivers great intensity with a satiny texture and long spicy finish. 500 cases produced." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, October 2018
An elegant expression of Chardonnay with power and grace, the most notable vintage in the past several years. Aromas and flavors led by a bright citrus character with classic Chardonnay tones of toasted brioche, ripe apple and pear and flan. In the mouth, creamy and filling, with notable acidity and minerality alongside oak spice, subtle caramel and vanilla bean with impressive length and a lingering, memorable finish. An elite Napa Chardonnay, rich and compelling.
Fruit is sourced primarily from the Star Vineyard in Rutherford, where deep alluvial soils and consistently moderate warm daytime temperatures allow for the development of layers of concentrated, complex flavors led by lemon curd. Vineyards in the Oak Knoll district and a touch from the coolest reaches of Los Carneros provide a solid acid backbone and striking varietal tones.
Winter rains helped signal the end of the immediate drought, but vineyards had grown stressed after multiple challenging years, resulting in modest yields for the season. A dry January was followed by a wet February, and temperatures remained mild, encouraging an early bud break to begin the growing season. Showers arrived in April, slowing the rapid advance of flowering and set. Early by historical standards, after harvest began picks moved at a leisurely pace as winemakers waited for ever more complex flavors to develop. The extended season helped balance acids and allowed layers of flavors to emerge, with select vineyard blocks revealing themselves to be of reserve level.
Lots are picked and tracked separately from the vineyard through the winery. Fermented in barrel with 100% malolactic fermentation before aging for 17 months in French Oak, 67% new, with twice weekly hand stirring resulting in a rich, creamy texture.