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2021 Stags' Leap Winery Barrel Select Chardonnay

2021 Stags' Leap Winery Barrel Select Chardonnay

2021 Stags' Leap Winery Barrel Select Chardonnay

Tasting Notes

A lovely fragrant Chardonnay exhibiting the delicate fruit character coming from a cooler region within Napa Valley, this 2021 vintage demonstrates notes of Meyer lemon peel, white peach, lychee, and lemon verbena, balanced by undertones of hazelnut, brioche, and pear Tarte Tatin. Layered and round with vibrant viscosity that lingers with mouthwatering lemon citron flavors alongside hints of honeysuckle, ginger, and white pepper spice, finishing long and zesty with crisp and refreshing acidity. The oak is subtle and well-integrated, offering hints of vanilla and light toast, finishing with a lovely concentration, balance and elegance.

Technical Information

Varietal Chardonnay
Vintage 2021
Appellation Carneros
Blend 100% Chardonnay
Oak Treatment Fermented and aged in 100% French oak barrels (29% new) for 7 months
Alcohol % 14.1%
Case Production 488

Scores & Accolades

  • 94
    “A reserved and linear white with sliced white peaches, ripe apples and hints of pie crust. Just right. It’s medium- to full-bodied with bright acidity buttressing the ripe fruit. Tangy and zippy finish. A selection of the best barrels. Drink now.” - James Suckling,, February 2023


The Barrel Selection Chardonnay is a small bottling of the most expressive barrel lots in a given vintage. Twenty-nine percent of the wine was fermented and aged in new French oak barrels and the remaining in neutral French oak. This specific barrel treatment as well as selected low impact coopers helps preserve the purity and freshness of the fruit while adding subtle notes of oak complexity. As usual, this Chardonnay does not undergo malolactic fermentation to further maintain the fruit’s natural acidity and aromatic freshness. The wine was bottled after just seven months of maturation with a weekly bâtonnage (lees stirring), putting the yeast lees in suspension to release subtle aromatics, increasing the complexity and mouthfeel.


The 2021 season was joyous and welcomed after the challenges of previous vintages, producing exceptionally high-quality fruit, some of the best in recent years. Rain early in the year led to almost no notable precipitation for the rest of the season, providing an ideal environment for the grapes with budbreak early in April, followed by flowering and bloom in May. The summer saw early and even ripening throughout the valley, with veraison appearing in early July. Low yields (in part due to drought conditions), created fruit that is intensely flavored and smaller in berry size. One of the earliest starts, harvest began with white wine grapes coming in towards late July, while red wine grapes arrived about a month later, at the end of August. With optimal ripening and taste, our winemakers took their time bringing grapes in, crafting wines of fantastic character, with amazing color extraction, aromatic intensity, tremendous balance, and structure, that are equally lush and fruity. A tremendous year to taste the nuances and terroir distinction from around the valley.


Our Barrel Selection Chardonnay is crafted with grapes grown in the Carneros appellation in southern Napa Valley, located along the seaside on the north side of the San Pablo Bay. Here maritime fogs roll across, blown in by cooling Pacific winds and then burned away again by the generous California sun, cooling these vineyards throughout the growing season, allowing for ideal preservation of acidity. Known for producing great wines, this undulating, gravelly bayside terrain continues to inspire exploration and discovery, and consistently produces Chardonnay ideal for our style of winemaking with bright fruit flavors highlighted by a crisp and refreshing acidity.