The 2012 Maldonado Vineyard Chardonnay ushers in a “vintage of a century” and begins as a broader and bolder take on our past history with the Dijon Clones. It is perhaps our finest effort to date with this varietal, achieving complete balance throughout.
This wine has a golden straw presence in the glass with bouquet of honey, marmalade, fresh citrus zest, toasted pine nuts, rocky flints, all spice and toasty notes. There is lusciousness to the nose that is ever so inviting. Crisp lemon drop, pineapple, ripe delicious apple and coconut fill the mouth. The fresh and savory effect draws you in for another taste. The balance is leading on the vibrant and full side. Anticipated maturity from 2015 to 2018.
The Dijon Clones are modern strains of Chardonnay carefully isolated from grapevine nursery blocks in France. These strains are selected for their incredible ability to produce the best of what the varietal has to offer and therefore have become quite popular with cool climate growers today. Working with long-time Napa Valley father and son grape growers, Lupe and Hugo Maldonado, is quite a privilege. Combined, the duo has over 54 years of combined grape growing experience. Located in the southeastern most reaches of the Napa Valley in a small area identified as Jameson Canyon, the Maldonado’s have certainly made the right decisions by planting precisely the right vines with very tight, meter square spacing, on the exact soil to create the idyllic Chardonnay terroir. The cool and often foggy climate of the Maldonado vineyard, located east of Carneros in Southern Napa, allows for a slow growing season and optimal ripening. This climate aids in the balancing of acidity and lifting tropical aromas in the fruit and thus, in the finished wine. The vines were carefully hand harvested and delivered cool to the winery. Harvest took place very early on September 18th. It was a perfect year for both white wines and early ripening varietals. The timing was impeccable with reaching full maturity at 23.7 Brix.
Once to the winery and weighted in, the grapes are traditionally whole cluster pressed and allowed to cold settle prior to filling once used French Oak barrels. We try to prescribe to a Burgundian practice of winemaking. We here at Venge are light handed on the usage of new French Oak keeping it to an average of 25% in our Chardonnay. Batonage, or the gentle stirring of the lees, is employed in the early stages of ageing to further develop refined richness and length of body to the mid-palate, while keeping the wine clean and fresh. The wine was surlies aged for 15 months. 15% native malolactic fermentation was allowed to build complexity and body, without compromising the structural integrity of the wine. The 2012 Maldonado Vineyard Chardonnay was bottled unfiltered.