Crisp, elegant and beautifully aromatic, the 2014 Barrel Selection Chardonnay offers floral honeysuckle and lime zest on the nose, opening the way for tastes of lemon oil, white peach, nectarine and almond. The oak is exceptionally well-integrated and enhances the depth, spice complexity and mouthfeel without overpowering the wine’s notable acidity.
The Barrel Selection Chardonnay is a small bottling of the most expressive barrel lots in a given vintage. 53% of the wine was fermented and aged in low impact new French oak barrels and the remaining 47% in seasoned French oak. This specific barrel treatment helps preserve the essential purity of the fruit while adding subtle notes of oak complexity. The 2014 vintage, as usual, did not undergo malolactic fermentation to further maintain the fruit’s natural acidity and aromatic freshness. The wine was bottled after just nine months of maturation with a weekly batonnage, putting the yeast lees in suspension in order to release subtle aromatics, increase the mouthfeel and prevent reduction.
The 2014 Barrel Selection Chardonnay was crafted with grapes grown in the Carneros appellation in southern Napa Valley. Fruit from Stanly Ranch, a relatively cool vineyard located just a half-mile north of the San Pablo Bay, makes up the majority of the blend. Fog helps to cool the vineyard throughout the growing season, allowing for ideal preservation of acidity. Stanly Ranch consistently produces Chardonnay ideal for our style of winemaking with crisp fruit flavors and bright acidity.
Despite drought conditions, the 2014 vintage proved to be ideal, with excellent quality reminiscent of 2012 and 2013. The winter was one of the driest on record in California, but substantial rains in early spring were timely and set up the vines for a strong start. Summer temperatures were milder than expected with no extremes, and after early budbreak and veraison, harvest was unusually early in 2014.