Although we are most recognized for making Single-Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from some of Napa Valley's most exciting appellations, we are also committed to producing a small collection of Russian River Valley and Napa Valley Chardonnays. These wines come from some of our favorite vineyards within each region, and they each offer a combination of fruit flavors, balanced acidity and minerality that is as unique as the soils and climates in which they are grown.
With our Single-Vineyard Chardonnay harvest around the corner, we wanted to introduce you to the first of three Chardonnay vineyards within our Nickel & Nickel portfolio.
Rolling out across the hills of southern Napa Valley's Carneros region, aka, prime real estate for Napa Valley Chardonnay, the Truchard VineyardÂ is composed of a gravelly, well-drained loam formed from weathered sandstone and shale. With its close proximity to the San Pablo and San Francisco Bays, the vines benefit from summer fogs in the morning and powerful Pacific breezes late in the afternoon.
We make wine from just 14 acres of this 270-acre parcel, focusing on four distinct Chardonnay clones planted in blocks with picturesque names like Rolling Knolls and Reservoir. Because temperatures can be as much as 20 degrees cooler here than in many northern Napa Valley vineyards, the growing season is long and steady. This allows the fruit to achieve beautiful maturity.
At this time of year, weekly sampling is well-underway for Nickel & Nickel Winemaker Darice Spinelli. In steeply sloping blocks like the southwestern-exposed Rolling Hills, Darice looks for the telltale transition from lemon-lime flavors to fruit that shows deeper texture and tropical elements. These hillside blocks are often among the first to be harvested, but nothing will get picked until Darice sees' and tastes that shift in maturity. In lower blocks like Reservoir, Darice expects the fruit to remain bright and tangerine-y.
We don't get much fruit from that block," she says, and it adds fresh citrus top notes to the tropical flavors and rich textures we get from other parts of the vineyard.
The 2014 vintage marks the 15th year we have released a Napa Valley Chardonnay from the Truchard Vineyard. Despite the fact that nature rarely hands Darice the same growing conditions each year, the Truchard Vineyard consistently gives us creamy, mouth-filling wines, with tropical pineapple and citrus aromas that expand in the mouth. Our just-released 2014 Nickel & Nickel Truchard Vineyard Chardonnay also shows exciting hints of mineral and fig, which add complexity and layering to the full, round palate. A classic wine, it showcases everything we love about Napa Valley Chardonnay from the gently rounded slopes of Carneros.
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