The name Collines means “hills” in French and describes the Carneros landscape surrounding our estate vineyard in the southernmost part of Napa Valley. Deep, heavy clay-loam soils found in this vineyard stress the vines, resulting in small berries with concentrated, intense flavor. These soils combined with marine influences from the San Pablo Bay and Pacific Ocean give Carneros Chardonnays their unique characteristics.
Deep gold color is evidence of one year in barrel. This single vineyard produces
a structured and voluptuous Chardonnay with generous aromas of tropical fruit, lemon curd,
honeysuckle, caramel, nutmeg, and brioche. Pretty aromas of white pear and a touch of minerality
follow. The flavors are vibrant and layered with mango, toasted walnuts, lemon zest, white nectarine,
and spice. A viscous mouthfeel and a long, lingering finish complete this opulent wine.
Our Collines Vineyard benefits from cool, foggy mornings and afternoon breezes
from nearby San Pablo Bay. These conditions are ideal for growing Chardonnay and contribute to
a slow and even rate of fruit maturity, leading to optimal balance of sugar and acid. This 38-acre
vineyard is planted with devigorating rootstock and features a number of Dijon clones, including 76,
95, 96, and 548, which tend to yield high acidity.
Following several years of drought, February delivered muchneeded
rain to the vines. Budbreak occurred early in 2015 due to warmer than normal temperatures
in late winter and early spring. Warm temperatures and abundant sunshine June through October
led to good growth the rest of the season, an early harvest, and very high-quality, balanced fruit. Our
Chardonnay was hand harvested at night, then quickly sorted and pressed in full cluster. The Collines
Vineyard Chardonnay represents a distinct shift in our Chardonnay program. The grapes were
allowed to ferment with native yeasts, which added layers of complexity. Post-fermentation, the
wine was cooled to delay native malolactic fermentation until spring. Winemaker Michael Beaulac
allows plenty of lees contact during aging and stirs routinely to enhance a creamy mouthfeel. The
wine aged in French oak for a full year using 50 percent new barrels. Michael’s goal was to make a
serious Chardonnay on par with Pine Ridge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignons.
Food Pairing Notes
Seafood is a natural pairing for Collines Vineyard Chardonnay, such as scallops in a
creamy sauce, crab with drawn butter, or a traditional French-style fillet of sole. Also try chicken
marsala, risotto with peas and asparagus, or creamy polenta with mushrooms. This richly styled
Chardonnay with its toasty aroma finds an echo in aged Comté, a classic cheese from the Jura
Mountains of France.