The 2015 Oak Knoll Chardonnay expresses ripe Bartlett pear, lemon curd, spices, and hint of butter aromatics. Soft, smooth and layered on the palate, this wine’s elegant acidity makes it a perfect pairing with seafood, cream sauced dishes, and cow’s milk cheeses or can be enjoyed on its own.
Located in the southern end of the Napa Valley, just south of Yountville, our Oak Knoll Vineyard experiences the second coolest growing conditions in the Napa Valley, just after Carneros. While many of the vineyards in Napa Valley are cooled by breezes that sweep up the valley from San Pablo Bay to the south, the Oak Knoll Vineyard has a unique position just east of a beneficial gap in the Mayacamas Mountains. Pacific Ocean influences creep through this gap, adding a secondary cooling. Fog often lingers until late morning and afternoon breezes temper warm summer days. This special climate results in Chardonnay fruit that is both beautifully ripe and balanced with zippy acidity.
The 2015 growing season in the Napa Valley was of outstanding quality marked with ideal weather throughout and no issues from frost, heat spikes or rain. The continuation of California’s drought brought a dry winter followed by a dry and early spring with an early bud break. Weather was warm and consistent throughout late spring and summer which allowed for full development in the grapes. Harvest began in August, and although overall crop loads were low due to continued drought conditions the quality and depth of flavor of the fruit was excellent.
Our Oak Knoll Chardonnay exhibits solid, robust character representative of Napa Chardonnays. We utilized two clones, the Robert Young Clone and clone 15, which we harvested in the cool night hours. At the winery, the grapes were destemmed and crushed, and then barrel fermented to impart structure and sweet spices. We allowed a good portion of the wine to undergo secondary malolactic fermentation, which converted the tart malic acids into creamy lactic acids, balancing the wine with a nice buttery component that unfolds on the palate. The wine was then aged for approximately 8 months in French and American oak barrels, a good percentage of which was new.