2011 TEXTBOOK Chardonnay, "Fin de Journée", Napa Valley
EXCELLENT - Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Hallmark provenance brings bright fruit, depth, creamy texture and zippy acidity.
• Hallmark provenance brings bright fruit, depth, creamy texture and zippy acidity
• Exemplary viticultural practices provide beautiful clusters with perfect flavor and balanced maturity
• Classic winemaking, whole-cluster press, new French oak barrels deliver delicious result
9 months in oak barrels
“Bright yellow-gold. Fresh melon and nectarine on the nose and palate, with a honeyed nuance adding depth. Broad and fleshy, with good heft to its melon and pit fruit flavors. Shows a touch of warmth on the finish, which leaves candied ginger and peach pit notes behind."
- Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, May/June 2013
Our "Fin de Journée" Chardonnay comes from two superb Napa Valley sites. The first is located in the Los Carneros AVA, near the cold San Pablo Bay and its long, cool season brings tropical and stone fruit aromas and terrific depth of flavor. The second site represents forty percent of our blend, is located at the Yountville Crossroads, and is over 25 years old. These rugged, older vines deliver a fraction of the yield of today's more prolific clones, but what is offered is exceptional, offering unctuous texture and aromatic complexity. Exemplary sustainable farming practices are employed in these sites, unevenly ripened bunches were hand culled reducing yield to less than 3 tons/acre.
Hand-picked Chardonnay clusters were field sorted into half-ton bins between September 27 and October 6 and then gravity-transferred into the press where a gentle whole cluster press cycle delivered a modest 155 gallons per ton. After settling, the juice was transferred to French barrels and a stainless tank and naturally began slow, cool fermentations. The barrels were of the highest quality; thirty percent new, two-year air dried, medium toast and handbent by Remond and Seguin-Moreau in France. Nine months barrel maturation with battonage (lees stirring) helped develop texture and its classic mouth-feel. The balance (40%) was fermented in stainless steel to capture freshness. Cultured yeasts finished off the indigenous fermentation beautifully. The two lots saw complete (or no) malolactic fermentation with the final blend seeing about 40% malolactic.
We call our Chardonnay "Fin de Journée" ("at the end of the day") to express when we most enjoy drinking it. It shows bright fruit, well-integrated, new French oak and an unctuous texture; all in balance with fragrant and floral honeysuckle, pear, melon, citrus and mineral notes. We think it is a "textbook" example of this noble variety grown in these outstanding Napa Valley sub-appellations.
2010 weather in Napa Valley was unusually cold. As such, grapes had long hang time to develop flavor and yields were down modestly. But all in all, it was a "no drama" season for Chardonnay, allowing us to fine tune vineyard activities and pick when the flavor was at its peak and before the October rains.