In most classes at the wine school, I behave myself. I don’t let my deep love of Cali Chardonnay get in the way of a great wine class. Back when I was making wine in the late ’90s, it wasn’t outlandish a passion. Chardonnay doesn’t show itself in the vineyard. If you picked it right –and that means it’s a swamp water yellow– you might have something special. Even then, you really didn’t know until about two weeks into fermentation.
Vine Cliff has a sweet 20 acres on the Napa side of Carneros, and it’s one of those spots that is a Chardonnay Shangri La. The vines are 20 years old and a healthy array of modern and old-school clones.
This is an excellent bottle that we are rating at 91 points—Honeysuckle and cream on the nose with a deep ripe pear note. Medium to full-bodied, the butterfat richness is balanced with an undercurrent of fresh acidity that rises to the surface like a caramel apple. The finish moves towards vanilla and cinnamon.