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 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 52 years of grape growing experience. The grapes are traditionally whole cluster pressed and allowed to cold settle prior to filling once used French Oak barrels. We prescribe to a Burgundian style of winemaking with this Chardonnay. We are careful not to “push” too much oak into this wine and smother its finer attributes. 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 midpalate while keeping the wine clean and fresh. The wine was surlies aged for 15 months. The 2010 vintage did not see any malolactic fermentation. The 2010 Maldonado Chardonnay is a delightfully expressive wine. Fortunately, for those of us making Chardonnay in Northern California, there is rarely a year where the weather isn’t perfect for white varietals. They easily reach maturity before the majority of red varietals do, which provides wonderful consistency in the wine making. The 2010 shows a lifted and lively bouquet of fresh cut lemon grass, light green apple, wet stones, and fragrant white flowers. It is a complex mélange and at varying moments in the aroma one experiences these different characteristics nudging forward. With the first taste, the palate is taken with crisp acidity and fresh tropical flavors. With time in the glass, exotic pineapple, hints of apricot, and citrus begin to come in. The finish is clean and even savory, leaving one wanting another taste.