After three years of plentiful harvests, California's water shortage finally caught up with Napa Valley's vines. At Antica Napa Valley, the Chardonnay harvest produced very low yields (50% of normal) due to the drought conditions and poor weather during bloom and fruit set. Mild temperatures and dry conditions throughout the summer allowed the Chardonnay grapes to enjoy a long, slow ripening period under ideal conditions with harvest beginning in late-August and continuing into late September. The Chardonnay grapes ripened fully with rich varietal purity while preserving the bright natural acidity in the grapes.
Chardonnay grapes were harvested from 5 to 28 year old vines harvested from eight vineyard blocks that each have their own identifiable qualities. The vineyards are planted at an average elevation of 1420 feet, in the alluvium soil series that predominate in Foss Valley; Bale Clay Loam and Perkins Gravelly Loam, both soils formed from alluvium derived from volcanic rock. The vineyards are planted between 10 distinct Chardonnay clones; Burgundian 96, 76, 809, 548, 28, 108, 17 and the Heritage Weimer Selection provide for the complexity in aromatics and flavors while clones Prosser 15 and Martini 4 provide the natural acidity that brings balance and a minerality character to the wine.
Harvest began on August 26 and completed on September 20. The grapes were harvested in the cool early morning hours and immediately taken to the Antica estate winery where the whole grape cluster was placed in the press allowing for a very gentle release of the Chardonnay juice. The Chardonnay juice was chilled further in a stainless steel tank prior to yeast inoculation. Afterwards the musts were transferred to French Oak barrels (65% new) where alcoholic fermentation took place in the cool temperature controlled environment of the estate’s wine cave. The wine remained in contact with the lees (sur lie) in the French oak barrel for about 10 months, during which time the malo-lactic fermentation was completed. When the barrel ageing period was completed, the wine in each barrel was tasted and the
necessary selections made. The wine from individual barrels was blended resulting in the final blend. Melissa Apter (Antica Winemaker) and Renzo Cotarella (Antinori Chief Enologist) oversaw the making of this wine.
The 2015 Chardonnay is rich and flavorful with pear, white peach and notes of spice. This medium-full bodied wine is textured by being creamy, yet with crisp acidity that allows it to have focus, gusto and purity of fruit.
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