2007 Napa Valley Chardonnay

Bud break occurred at a normal time this spring, suggesting we could experience normal timing for the Chardonnay harvest (funny how that can happen). Then, during the growing season, the weather cooperated beautifully: not too hot, not too cold, but just right. In fact, I’m not sure we could have asked for better summer conditions for Chardonnay. There were no big heat spikes, only a typical stretch of 90’s in July. Then in late August and early September we experienced the only real heat event of the season, just in time to give everything that final shove towards ripeness. And that signaled the opening sortie to yet another great harvest here at the Chateau, where we took in 199.5 tons of Chardonnay in 14 days.

90Wine Advocate
vintage weather

Grapes from the younger vines at John Muir Hanna vineyard were the first to come in, marking our 36th harvest from this historic site. In 2007 we continued our protocol of night picking the Chardonnay in order to preserve delicate flavors and aromas, delivering firm cool fruit to the winery. Once the opening bell rang on August 31st, we proceeded at a nice steady pace, finishing on the 13th of September. The final ratio of whole cluster pressed to de-stemmed & pressed was 64% to 36%. Whole cluster pressing helps to preserve the nuances of the delicate fruit flavors, while the more aggressive de-stemming process tears the skins, releasing more perfume and flavor from the berries. The end result is an elegant, well balanced, classically styled Montelena Chardonnay with exceptional precision and nuance.

tasting notes

In the glass this wine is reminiscent of California hillsides in summertime, showing a beautiful pale golden straw color. Aromas of orange blossom, citrus rind, and stone fruits of white peach and apricot open the bouquet. Layers of tropical pineapple and starfruit then give way to toasted hazelnuts and a touch of smoke, while the depths of the nose reveal a pleasant minerality. On the palate the clean, soft, full entry builds with layers of tropical fruit, white melon, green apple, and citrus. Excellent weight and acid balance throughout refresh the palate, while subtle notes of oak spice and vanilla linger at the end of the exceptionally long finish.

Harvest Date August 31 to September 13
Sugar At Harvest 24.5 brix
Bottling Date August 2008
Release Date Spring 2009
Cases Produced 10,500
Alcohol 13.7%