2000 Napa Valley Chardonnay

We are very excited about the release of our 2000 Chardonnay. It sure looks funny to see that 2000 on the label after all those years of 19.... But that's not the big news. What we're excited about are the subtle upgrades we've made to the wine. We decided not to rest on our laurels and have worked very diligently at all levels to fine tune our Chardonnay for the next millennia.

One of the changes that occurred in 2000 is that we are now farming most of our own Chardonnay vineyards. The sources have not changed, only that we have direct control over each and every decision, from pruning to harvest. This means we can apply the same winemaking-in-the-vineyard attention to detail that we do at the Montelena Estate. A new Diemme press, specially constructed to process whole clusters, was installed and we began night picking our Chardonnay for the best juice ever. All of this allows us to enhance the fruit flavors in the wine yet avoid roughness or astringency from extraction. Also, our careful winemaking allows cellar aging in the barrel, unfined and unfiltered. You will see we remain true to the Montelena style: no malo-lactic fermentation, little if any yeast stirring, judicious use of new oak, purity of fruit and fine balance.

The 2000 growing season was long and slow. Spring was warm and mild, so the vines got moving at a pretty good clip. Mid-June brought among the highest recorded temperatures in Napa Valley history, but other predicted heat waves did not materialize, leaving a delightful summer. Weather at harvest was cool, and it ended up being the longest harvest ever. We crushed Chardonnay for almost a month!

vintage weather

Cool. Average rainfall. Growing season dominated by cool weather and spikes of intense heat. Cluster loss from windy heat in June kept yield low. The light crop allowed full ripening and harvesting before the onset of wet weather. The wine is very refined, high quality.

tasting notes

In the glass the color is a bright yellow gold. The aroma is a big bowl of fruit - lychee, citrus, pear, apple - layered over subtle hints of toasted almond and a hint of caramel from the oak, truly classic Chardonnay. This wine is full-bodied but with very bright fruit and refreshing balance with a long juicy finish. As you can probably tell we are excited and proud of this wine and hope you enjoy it too.

Harvest Date August 28 to September 22
Sugar At Harvest 23.0° to 24.0° brix
Barrel Aging 8 to 11 months
Bottling Date August 2001
Release Date September 2002
Alcohol 13.8%