Carneros Collines Vineyard Chardonnay

The French word collines means “hills,” and it aptly describes the Carneros landscape in the southern reaches of Napa Valley, where gentle rolling hills surround our estate vineyard. Deep, heavy clay loam soils, combined with the marine influences of the nearby San Pablo Bay and Pacific Ocean, give Chardonnay wines from this region a distinctive balance of fruit and acidity.

Carneros Collines Vineyard Chardonnay

The French word collines means “hills,” and it aptly describes the Carneros landscape in the southern reaches of Napa Valley, where gentle rolling hills surround our estate vineyard. Deep, heavy clay loam soils, combined with the marine influences of the nearby San Pablo Bay and Pacific Ocean, give Chardonnay wines from this region a distinctive balance of fruit and acidity.

VINEYARDS 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.

HARVEST AND WINEMAKING The 2016 harvest marks the fifth great vintage in a row. Although it was another drought year and yields tended to be a bit lower, the quality was very high. The year started out hot, then became cold, then turned hot again, and October began one of the heaviest rain seasons this region has seen in many years. 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 50 percent new French oak barrels for 12 months and stainless steel tanks for 2 months. Michael’s goal was to make a serious Chardonnay on par with Pine Ridge Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignons.

TASTING NOTES Aromas are inviting with notes of oak, vanilla, citrus, apples, and pineapple. This single vineyard produces a structured and voluptuous Chardonnay with generous fruit flavors of apple, citrus, and tropical fruit, with nuances of caramel and spice from oak aging. A nutty character and notes of apple crumble complement the bright citrus accents. The silky, creamy mouthfeel combines with bright acidity and leads to a clean, lingering finish.

PAIRING Seafood, such as ceviche or a white fish in cream sauce, is a natural pairing for Collines Vineyard Chardonnay. Spaghetti carbonara would also make an interesting pairing. This richly styled Chardonnay with its toasty aroma finds an echo in aged Comté, a classic cheese from the Jura
Mountains of France.