For the 2009 vintage, our popular Steeple Street Chardonnay was sourced from vineyards within California’s premier Central and North Coast appellations. Crafted to fully express the natural varietal flavor and distinctive character of each growing region and the combination of appellations, it’s a creation that amounts to “more than the sum of its parts.
Today, the trend among American winemakers is to lighten Chardonnay, to make it less overpowering in style and more food friendly. Less oak is being used and some Chardonnays are undergoing only a partial malo-lactic fermentation (a process that brings out the buttery character in the wine). This wine underscores that model as a portion of the wine was made in the “oak free” style. Still other portions combine small percentages of Muscat Canelli and Pinot Grigio.
The result is Chardonnay closer to the model set by white Burgundies, with greater food-friendly acidity, yet still softer and immediately accessible. It’s likely a style that will keep California Chardonnay as the benchmark for this varietal around the world.
Varietal / Blend
97% Chardonnay, 2% Muscat Canelli, 1% Pinot Grigio
The 2009 harvest was excellent across California. Cool, mild weather along the North Coast allowed for extended hang-time, good maturity of the grapes and intense flavors.
We choose fruit from warm growing areas which give us flavors of baked apple and pear as well as cooler vineyard sites for fresh citrus and nectarine character.
A long, cool fermentation retained the crisp character of the variety, and the cellar regime was designed to produce the full mouth and lasting fruit characteristics that lovers of quality California Chardonnay demand (part oak/part stainless steel.)
The 2009 Steeple Street Chardonnay has a bright straw-gold color with wonderful fruity aromas of apple and apricot with cinnamon spice and vanilla. On the palate, it has a round, creamy texture, filled with flavors of dried apricot, nectarine and barrel spice with a soft, silky finish. A rich core of pineapple-pear notes with buttery hints of toasty vanillla oak is supported by just the right touch of acidity. Boldly rich, yet refreshingly crisp and clean with a long, nutty finish.
A full-bodied white like Chardonnay is a classic pairing with grilled salmon or sea bass and a fresh Caesar Salad. Grilled swordfish with salsa would be another excellent choice as would roast pork loin with an apple butter sauce.