1983 Alexander Valley Chardonnay

The 1983 harvest was the second in a row where the fall rains were likely to have a deleterious effect on the quality of the vintage. Very selective hand picking and fruit sorting was of utmost importance because the tightly clustered Chardonnay grapes are susceptible to botrytis (the noble mold) and its secondary stage, bunch rot; neither being acceptable for the fresh fruit characteristics of a prime Chardonnay wine.

Even though we had to leave about one-third of the fruit on the vine, the fruit that was taken had tremendous flavors, thus resulting in a very fine wine indeed.

vintage weather

Cool variable. Record winter rains. Crop down 20% from 1982. Cool spring gave way to a heat spell in mid-July that caused damage. Early crush with a moderate sized crop. Good maturity, clean, balanced fruit.

tasting notes

The 1983 "Alexander Valley" Chardonnay has a brilliant green-gold color but it is the aromatic harmony of green apple, honey, spice, and tropical fruit with a faint trace of oak that really grabs the taster's attention. The flavors follow closely with the Alexander Valley's unique spicey Chardonnay character folded into a supple texture. Although a bit more bottle age is needed to soften the acid grip of youth, the wine already shows a well layered, well rounded structure and elegance that is indicative of the Montelena style. This, together with the exuberant flavors of the Alexander Valley fruit, make for a fine addition to our Chardonnay lineup and manages to console us for the grapes lost to Mother Nature during the 1983 harvest.

Harvest Date September 11 to October 3
Sugar At Harvest 23.0° brix
Barrel Aging 6 months
Bottling Date August 1984
Release Date March 1985
Alcohol 13%