At Duckhorn Vineyards, we have been making wine using grapes from the finest Napa Valley vineyards for over 40 years. Building on this rich history, our Napa Valley Chardonnay comes from the coolest regions. In the cellar, we applied classic techniques of French oak barrel fermentation with lees stirring, resulting in a Chardonnay that balances the complexity and richness of Napa Valley.
Varietal Content: 100% Chardonnay; Cooperage: 100% French oak - 40% new, 30% second vintage, 30% neutral; 90% barrel fermented, 10% stainless steel; 40% malolactic fermentation
The fantastic 2017 growing season yielded an intense and complex expression of Napa Valley Chardonnay, with alluring aromas of nectarine, yellow plum, pineapple upside-down cake and sweet spices. On the palate, zesty acidity and an underlying silkiness add depth and nuance, with French oak-inspired hints of vanilla, sweet dough and clove framing the generous fruit.
The 2017 growing season began with abundant winter rains, followed by a warm, dry spring that led to a perfectly timed budbreak. In addition to replenishing the water table, the early season rains produced robust canopies, which provided invaluable shade during a week-long heat event that kicked harvest into gear during the last week of August. This was followed by a much-needed cooldown that allowed the vines to recuperate, while also giving us extra hangtime for flavor development and tannin resolution. We harvested throughout September and into early October, with the grapes showing lovely ripeness and quality, yielding plush, polished and wonderfully complex wines.
Duckhorn, Napa Valley (California) Chardonnay 2017 ($36): Say Duckhorn and red wine, either Merlot or Cabernet, comes to mind. But it would be a mistake to dismiss the Duckhorn Chardonnay because it’s made it a style that is growing in popularity with California winemakers. The 2017 combines freshness and elegance with rich, ripe fruit that benefits from restraint. The wine shows nuances of lemon oil, pair and ripe apple with an array of baking spices. It is superbly balanced and exhibits impressive length. At this price it’s a steal. 94 Robert Whitley Jun 4, 2019