This Chardonnay entices you with aromas of fresh peach, Asian pear, citrus, and honeycomb to delight your senses. The flavors are just as complex with delightful undertones of red pepper and Madagascar vanilla, followed by fresh lemon, green apple, wildflower honey, stone fruit, and a hint of lavender. The rich, dense texture is balanced by its juicy acidity, leading to great minerality and a long, satisfying finish.
When Mike Grgich made the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay — the white wine that won the Paris Tasting — he used fruit from the Bacigalupi Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. He soon moved into a partnership with Austin Hills, assembling an organically farmed estate that includes 88 acres in Carneros and 163 in American Canyon, the cool, southern districts of the Napa Valley where this chardonnay grows. Now, at 98, Grgich leaves winegrowing to his nephew, Ivo Jeramaz, who produced this complex and compelling wine. Put aside any preconceptions you might have about contemporary Napa Valley chardonnay; consider instead an agriculture that might include native corn (one taster cited the ethereal sweetness of nixtamalized corn) and stone-fruit orchards (a scent of apricots). There’s the smokiness of ancho chile and a scent of woodland mushrooms in the wine’s dark-toned leesiness. Then the layers of flavor last, harmonious and delicious.
- Wine & Spirits, 94 pts.