Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay Library Release 2012 - 750ml
What a difference a year makes. Literally hot on the heels of the chilly 2011 vintage, 2012 delivered a perfect growing season and a bumper crop to boot. More than anything else, we welcomed the sunshine. After honing our skills through the challenges of three consecutive cool years and appreciating the resulting stylistic nuances, it felt great to reach back into the tool belt and pull out some of the magic that characterized the “Legendary” vintages of the past four decades.
In 1976, in what is now memorialized as “The Judgment of Paris”, Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay was the top-ranking wine against four white Burgundies and five other California Chardonnays in a blind tasting with a who’s-who of the french food and wine industry judging. And as they say, the rest is history.
Notes from the Winemaker, Matt Crafton, July 2014
VINTAGE WEATHER: Feeling ecstatic understates our reaction when the first Chardonnay grapes came off the vines in early September, three full weeks earlier than the previous year. Devoid of extremes, 2012 will be remembered as a blockbuster vintage. ere were no frost events, brutal heat spikes, drying wines, or excessive rains. Just perfect Napa Valley ripening weather. Late rains in March replenished the soils right in time for budbreak, which kicked off a remarkable period of grand growth and ideal maturation. It’s in these vintages—1997 and 2005 were similar—when the unique characteristics of our vineyards really shine through in the aromatics and flavors of the wines.
The Chardonnay for the 2012 vintage is sourced from vineyards located in the south-central Napa Valley appellation, near the base of Mt. Veeder and Dry Creek Valley Road on the western bench of the Napa Valley. It has a good north-eastern exposure with a slope of 4-7%. The Haire-Loam soil has a profile very similar to that of the Carneros region, although the climate is slightly warmer. The vineyard site, developed from old ocean terraces and alluvial fans, contains a lot of sedimentary material such as decomposed shale and blue/gray clay. This soil mixture gives moderate drainage and slight acidity. Typically, the Chardonnay has a concentrated floral, green apple aroma and a refreshing and persistent impression on the palate.
NOSE: In the glass, the 2012 Chardonnay bursts with aromas of ripe peach, green apple, and honeydew. Next comes a touch of vanilla, lavender and orange blossom, with an underlying note of star jasmine.
PALATE: The concentration of the wine is evident on the palate: the rich viscosity is cut by bright acid and layers of kiwi, grapefruit, and soft minerality.
FINISH: The finish is pure bliss with a touch of sweet oak and lemon curd that just doesn’t quit.
HARVEST DATES: September 7–27
BARREL AGING: 10 months, 100% French oak. 8% new
BOTTLING DATE: August 2013
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