Chardonnay was harvested from the 10-acre Reserve single vineyard. The vineyard is planted at an elevation of 1,420 feet in the volcanic soil series Aiken Loam at a density of 1,815 vines per acre. Divided equally among five distinct Chardonnay clones, this clonal diversity contributes to the wine’s complexity.
2008 was a viticulturist’s year as close attention to the vines was vital to mitigate the influence of below-normal winter rainfall and spring frost which reduced the crop. Budbreak began typically in late March, and temperatures throughout the growing season were normal with a few days of higher temperatures in late August. The cool night-time temperatures of the high elevation Chardonnay vineyard contributed to ripe, full-flavored grapes with fresh, natural acidity.
Harvest began September 12 with an average yield of five pounds of fruit per vine. The grapes were harvested in the cool morning hours so they arrived at the winery as cold as possible. Whole clusters were pressed allowing for a gentle release of the Chardonnay juice. The juice was transferred to Remond and Seguin Moreau French oak barrels (Alliers and Troncais) where alcoholic fermentation took place. The wine remained on the lees (sur lie) in barrel for 9 months during which it completed malolactic fermentation.
When the aging period was finished, the wine in each barrel was tasted, selectively blended, and bottled. It was allowed to age further in bottle before being released to the market. Antinori chief enologist, Renzo Cotarella, and the Antica winemaking team oversaw the production of this wine. The result is a great wine with local Napa Valley character.