The whims of Mother Nature were on full display during the 2017 growing season…marked by ample winter rains, a mild spring, hail in June, and intermittent waves of summer heat. A third and final temperature spike in early September compelled a spirited pick from our hallmark block on Bald Mountain, with the end result being a delightfully delicious chardonnay displaying both richness and resolve. On the nose, the wine expresses notes of star jasmine and citrus, giving way to flavors that tempt the palate with a pleasing panoply of lemon candy, grapefruit zest, tropical fruit, and (wait for it…), a suggestion of bananas foster and crème brulée. Aged 17-months in 30% new French oak, the wine demonstrates a pleasingly light acidity to provide a refreshing counterpoint that balances the wine from start-to-finish. Teasingly inviting but refined in a way that memorable white burgundies can often be, the wine conjures up the dulcet tones of Fleetwood Mac’s sultry singer-songwriter, Christine McVie, who in her memorable hit, “You Make Loving Fun” compelled many of us who “never did believe in the ways of magic” to “…begin to wonder why.”
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.
Bursting with aromatics of ripe passion fruit and citrusy flavors. Finishes well with smooth peachy sweetness and lingering fresh acidity. Predominately from Comely Bank vineyard, Waihopai Valley Road, in Marlborough’s Wairau Valley. Grapes are pressed and the juice gel floated and inoculated. Cool fermented, then when the wine is deemed in balance the ferment is stopped, the wine is then cold stabilized filtered and bottled.
⋅2018v – 92pts Wine Spectator
This new world, oak mellowed Chardonnay is light & bright yet smooth & buttery. Au Jus exudes a creamy texture with flavors of stone fruit, pear, dried apricot and vanilla, balanced by traces of citrus and pineapple. It is full of personality.
SABER’s art titled “Drip.” This work, with its bright buttery golden hue reflects the very nature of this Chardonnay.
Translated from French, Au Jus literally means “with juice” and has come to be interpreted as a “sauce” or “a natural way to enrich a dish“.
⋅ 93pts – 2018 Harvest Challenge
⋅ Gold Medal SF Chronicle Competition
⋅ 89pts Wine Enthusiast – 2017 Vintage
Heady aromas of citrus fruits, melon and white peach lead to bright tropical fruit flavours on the palate with a refreshing acidity. On the finish there is a hint of vanilla and cashew nut from partial new French oak barrel maturation. Grand Barossa Chardonnay displays all the delicacy, elegance and finesse that can be achieved from this noble variety.
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This 100% Chardonnay opens with aromas of green apple, pear and peaches. These aromas follow through to the palate, along with citrus and mineral notes. The wine is crisp and clean, with a hint of creaminess on the mid palate and a long, lingering finish.
90 Points Wine Enthusiast
Gold Medal- Fifty Best California Chardonnays
Colour: Golden yellow with bright greenish hue
Nose: very intense, fruity bouquet; the nose reveals aromas of ripe banana, tropical fruit and a hint of floral notes
Flavour: smooth and elegant. Tropical fruit flavors weave together in a nice range of flavors that linger on the palate ending with a long, fruity aftertaste.
Pairings: It matches well-structured first courses, rich flavoured fish, mixed boiled meat and mouldy cheeses.
Fragrant aromas of zesty lemon with notes of honeysuckle and white grapefruit are immediately evident, followed by a pleasing mineral character and a touch of toasted brioche. On the palate, it is fresh and lively with pronounced citrus tones and hints of white peach and apricot. The silky, smooth texture that reflects a deft hand in winemaking and the long, seamless finish completes beautiful Chardonnay.
• 90 Points – Wine Advocate
The hazy yellow hue is evidence of subtle stirring of the lees and bottling without fining or filtration. The rounded, rich mouthfeel is intertwined with the crisp acidity and stony minerality that is an expression of the high elevation and cool coastal climate. Pretty floral aromas of lemon blossom, chamomile and honeysuckle are balanced by hints of toasted hazelnut and honeycomb. On the palate Bartlett pear, golden delicious apples are layered with subtle baking spices, that linger through the long, full finish. This well-integrated and finely-structured Chardonnay will continue to evolve for many years.
94 Points – Wine Spectator
“Powerful and rich, with intense, juicy flavors of apple and butter, flanked by butterscotch notes. Savory accents linger on the intensely spicy finish, layered with creamy and buttery hints. Drink now through 2025.”—K.M.
“The 2017 Chardonnay FRV is rock solid, offering a ripe bouquet of caramelized tangerines, golden fruits, honeycomb, and brioche. With medium to full body, a fat, opulent texture, and a big finish, it’s a powerful, nicely balanced Chardonnay to enjoy over the coming couple of years.” — Jeb Dunnuck
Our Chardonnay from Russian River Valley in Sonoma is the embodiment of an American wine with a Burgundian soul. To accurately represent our mission at Napa Smith Winery we chose to source our grapes for our Sonoma Smith Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma. With a very cool growing season influenced by the ebb and flow of the Pacific Ocean fog, these grapes develop slowly, compose a lush fruit bouquet while maintaining a bright acidity and integrated minerality.
We like to refer to this style of wine as the crossroads where the New World and Old World meet. There are only a few growing reqions in the US that perfectly match the grapes physiological needs with the appropriate climate and soil type; Russian River and Chardonnay are one of them.
Aroma: Citrus zest, orange blossoms, honey suckle, caramel and vanilla
Tasting characteristics: Ripe Fuji apple, stone fruit, lemon blossom, wet slate, cream and hazelnut
Body: Medium body, cleansing mouthfeel with balance of flavor and acidity that excites the entire palate
• 89 Points – Tastings.com
• Silver Medal – Tastings.com
Expressing the true characteristics of the Chardonnay grape, our Unoaked Chardonnay is bursting with juicy tropical fruit and honeysuckle aromas followed by luscious green apple and baked pear flavors with a hint of stone fruit. The finish is crisp and clean without the harshness of oak.
• Double Gold Medal – WSWA Tasting Competition
• “Best of Show” (Chardonnay) – WSWA Tasting Competition