Apple pie aromas dominate the nose of our Oak Knoll Chardonnay with a sweet mélange of vanilla, nutmeg and Granny Smith apple. The apple component shifts through the palate, taking on softer Golden Delicious qualities along with poached pear and golden toffee. A line of citrus weaves through the medium-bodied palate and remains on the lasting finish. This is an excellent wine with food; we recommend serving it alongside seafood or light poultry dishes.
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. These lower temperatures allow for slow ripening and impart bright, crisp apple characters to this varietal.
2016 was a very mild and consistent vintage for the majority of Napa Valley. Although California’s drought brought another dry winter, the growing season started with a warm, dry spring and relatively early bud break. Temperate Summer weather remained mild and even throughout, with no rainfall during harvest. Overall, yields were lower than expected due to continued drought conditions but the quality of fruit and resulting wines are of excellent quality.
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.