The Chardonnay grapes came from 9 to 21-year-old vines harvested from six distinct vineyards on the estate. The vineyards are planted at an average elevation of 1,420 feet in the well-drained, alluvial soil series Bale Clay Loam and Perkins Gravelly Loam.
2009 was the third consecutive year of drought in Napa Valley. A mild winter with below normal rainfall led to a dry spring with slightly higher than normal temperatures for the estate. These were favorable conditions for flowering and led to uniform fruit set. Mild temperatures in the summer resulted in healthy vine growth. Dry conditions continued into early fall. Warm days along with cool nights assured full ripening while maintaining the Chardonnay’s fresh, natural acidity.
Harvest took place September 7 through September 28. To determine the optimum moment of harvest and ensure maximum fruit flavor intensity, each vineyard was tested daily. Grapes were harvested during the cool mornings and quickly moved to the 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.