Reflection of the Estate . . . Chardonnay
July 26, 2020
While known for centuries of time-tested success in Burgundy and Champagne, Chardonnay is still relatively new in California. Celebrated as one of the most adaptable grapes in the world, Chardonnay is the ultimate canvas for translating terroir to the glass. The judicious use of winemaking practices like malolactic fermentation, stirring of the lees, barrel fermentation, and aging methods all play a role in bringing out the flavors of the fruit. But many California producers are still searching for a balance that we’re fortunate to have found early on.
Despite all of the trends in California winemaking over the decades, Chardonnay has remained a constant, becoming the state’s most widely planted white grape. Of the 440 acres of vineyards we farm, we dedicate almost 30% of our crop to Chardonnay, which grows exceptionally well in our home Oak Knoll District. We work with 13 different clones and 28 different combinations of unique clones and rootstocks to allow us to achieve the perfect blend that’s representative of the vintage.
Napa’s Oak Knoll District creates the perfect canvas for our Chardonnay. Co-founded by Janet Trefethen in 2004, this AVA encompasses the area north of the city of Napa, at the southern end of the valley. Here, fog and a cool marine climate temper grapes from over-ripeness, and the well-drained soils of the Dry Creek alluvial fan yield fresh balanced wines, laced with an elegant backbone of acidity.
“Our loamy soil lends a wonderful savoriness to the wine,” Janet says. “In their youth the flavor and aroma are similar to fresh tarragon; as the wine evolves, the nose becomes more pronounced with mineral character. We have always believed our wines should reflect their natural heritage.”