Today’s Cellar Note brings you a taste of Chardonnay grown and made in the mountain appellation of Spring Mountain District. Spring Mountain District AVA sits above the Napa Valley on the eastern slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains that separate Napa Valley from Sonoma Valley. The Stony Hill Vineyard Chardonnay was provided as a tasting sample.
2015 Stony Hill Vineyard Chardonnay — light golden in the glass with generous aromas of yellow apples, ripe lemons and oat hay. Flavors of tart, juicy apples and dusty minerality gain complexity with just a hint of cedar spice in the background. The wine is not watery in the mouth, nor is it round; it’s at that perfect place in-between. Juicy acidity keeps the flavor profile bright and light. The flavors last a very long time. 13% abv. SRP $48.
Fred and Eleanor McCrea first planted grapevines on the steep slopes of Stony Hill in the late 1940s. The couple were lovers of Chardonnay made in an old world style and Chardonnay (sourced from the Wente Vineyard in Livermore), Riesling and Pinot blanc were the first varieties they planted. Gewürztraminer and Sémillon soon followed. Most recently Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah have been added. One major re-planting of Chardonnay took place in 1986 resulting in vineyards that are now an average of 30 years old.
Soils are volcanic with limestone rock beneath. Natural springs and abundant ground water have made dry-farming the vineyards possible from the beginning.
The next generations of the McCrea family now own and manage Stony Hill Vineyard and they, along with winemaker Mike Chelini, have remained faithful to the original style of Chardonnay made by Fred and Eleanor. Chardonnay is harvested before its natural acidity drops and the wine is made with minimal skin contact. Malolactic fermentation is inhibited (to preserve natural acidity) and fermentation takes place in neutral oak.
Chardonnay is made in a variety of styles, which can be both a blessing and a curse. If the style of Chardonnay I prefer ends up in my glass then great, the wine gods are smiling down on me. If it’s a style I do not prefer, then I wonder what I’ve done to vex them. Let’s just say that with 2015 Stony Hill Vineyard Chardonnay in my glass I feel as if the wine gods are very happy with me. I taste fruit and minerals. The Chardonnay has a nice weight in the mouth and a very long finish. And it loves food. We paired it with a dish inspired by St. Patrick’s Day and it was a winner. Also, consider pairing this Chardonnay with seafood, soft cheeses or simply a warm afternoon. It is as delicious on its own as it is with food. And, it was as delicious on day three as it was on day one. Lovely wine.
Thanks to Jarvis Communications for reaching out to Pull That Cork with this delightful Chardonnay.