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Harvest Puzzle Pieces: A Napa Valley Chardonnay Update

09.17.15

Harvest Puzzle Pieces: A Napa Valley Chardonnay Update
Napa Valley Cellar Master Javier Munoz

After more than two decades of Far Niente harvests, Cellar Master Javier Munoz has honed his "sorting table strategy."[/caption]

Napa Valley Winemaker Nicole Marchesi

Winemaker Nicole Marchesi celebrates her tenth harvest with Far Niente.

For Far Niente Winemaker Nicole Marchesi, the start of harvest begins before she ever starts picking fruit.

It starts in the weeks leading up to that first pick date, when she spends her early mornings in the vineyard, sampling for ripeness.

“It’s one of my favorite times of harvest, especially those mornings I spend in our Napa Valley Chardonnayblocks in Coombsville. The cool, early morning fog slowly dissipates while I’m walking; the vineyard is quiet and peaceful but my brain and my palate are already moving at full speed working on the harvest puzzle."

"As I pop grapes in my mouth noting the flavors, the acidity and the texture of the skins, I’m also mentally comparing my impressions of ripeness in each block, thinking about the upcoming weather and mapping out a potential pick plan.”

The first Far Niente Napa Valley Chardonnay of 2015 came into the winery before sunrise – during those pre-dawn hours that temperatures are coolest and fruit’s freshness is best preserved – on August 20th. Then it was a blur of swift fingers as Nicole and her team focused their attention on sorting, pressing, racking and barrel fermenting each lot, one by one.

Our final lots of Chardonnay came into the winery yesterday morning, just as we began picking our first blocks of Oakville Cabernet. “I’m super happy with flavors right now, there’s lots of freshness and beautiful acidity. We’ll taste through all the lots again in January, and that really gives us the best snapshot of the vintage.”

For now, it’s a waiting game. Nicole and her team will be mostly hands off, as the wines spend the next ten months in barrel, developing greater texture and depth.

With the harvest puzzle for Chardonnay nearing completion, Nicole can now focus her attention on the Cabernet lots coming in from our Martin Stelling Vineyard, aka the cornerstone of our estate Cabernet.

We'll share more about our Cabernet harvest as the fruit comes off the vine!

As our 2015 Napa Valley Chardonnay goes into barrel, we invite you to click here to learn more about the current vintage.

The 2013 Estate Chardonnay marked our 34th year of making white wine! The 2015, our 36th!

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