2018 Napa Chardonnay
While the ample rains of winter and filtered light of spring/summer pushed bud break and flowering later than expected, the balance of the 2018 growing season approached ideal conditions, making for a plentiful and even fruit set that effected phenomenal phenolic development with exceptional fruit complexity and yields. The end result was a vintage that compares with the finest experienced through the decade. Part and parcel to these conditions, our 2018 Napa Valley Chardonnay serves as an appropriate Tenth Anniversary tribute to Philippe’s first-ever chardonnay, Moone Tsai’s inaugural 2009 vintage.
Lemony in hue, the nose of this remarkable 100% chardonnay teases with nuances of ripe golden delicious apple, and fresh pear. To advance the parlay, the wine’s attack drops it reticence, to reveal a coquettish liveliness replete with suggestions of lemon pastilles, poached pear, grapefruit zest, mineral, and a hint of fresh ginger. Whole cluster pressed, cold-settled, and fermented in French oak barrels sur lie, the wine undergoes full malolactic fermentation before aging in 45% new French oak for 16 months. Superbly balanced, the wine shows pleasing intensity, a delightful acidity and appropriate volume in the glass. Coy but demurely vibrant at the outset; the wine demonstrates a lithesome freshness and vigor through to a satisfyingly fulsome finish – reminding one of the prodigious promise attending one of Hollywood’s most gifted new talents, the luminescent Saoirse Ronan, whose three Oscar nominations since 2015 (age twenty one!) has everyone talking.
Bald Mountain, a neighbor of Mount Veeder, is situated in the Mayacamas Mountains on the western border of the Napa Valley. The south-facing vineyard sits at nearly 1600 feet above sea level, and offers stunning views of both the Sonoma and Napa Valleys, as well as of Marin’s Mt. Tamalpais to the south. Cool sunshine is abundant throughout the growing season, allowing the grapes to ripen slowly while varietal character evolves completely.