Chardonnay grapes came from 11 to 23-year-old vines harvested from eight vineyard blocks that each have their own identifi able qualities. The vineyards are planted at an average elevation of 1420 feet, in the alluvium soil series Bale Clay Loam and Perkins Gravelly Loam, both soils formed from alluvium derived from volcanic rock. The vineyards are planted to 6 distinct Chardonnay clones.
Temperatures throughout the winter remained mild. A cooler than normal spring delayed budbreak and flowering. Rain during late May/early June affected fruit set and required a constant eye on the vines. Summer brought below normal temperatures yet abundant hours of sunshine as our high altitude vineyards were above the coastal fog that caused some problems for vineyards on the Napa Valley floor. Excellent weather conditions prevailed in September through early October with warm days and cool nights, allowing the Chardonnay grapes to ripen fully while preserving their bright natural acidity.
The Chardonnay grapes were harvested between September 26 and October 14. To determine the optimum moment of harvest and ensure maximum fruit flavor intensity, each vineyard was tested daily. The grapes were harvested in the cool early morning hours and immediately taken to the estate winery. Whole clusters were placed in the press to gently release the juice, which was chilled in stainless steel tanks prior to yeast inoculation. Musts were transferred to French oak barrels (30% new) for alcoholic fermentation in the estate’s temperature-controlled wine caves. The wine remained on the lees (sur lie) in barrel for 6 months where it completed malolactic fermentation.
When aging was complete, each barrel was tasted and the finest lots were selected. Individual barrels were racked resulting in the final blend. Antinori Chief Enologist Renzo Cotarella and Antica Winemaker Nate Weis oversaw the production of this wine.