St. Clement Vineyards
2007 Abbott's Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay
Chardonnay •Abbott's Vineyard
California: Carneros - Los Carneros (Napa)
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Mission Codename: Pioneering Spirit
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Operative favorite, St. Clement, this time to recover a exclusive allocation cache of their fabled Single Vineyard Abbot’s Carneros Napa Chardonnay
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: St. Clement Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2007 Abbott’s Vineyard Chardonnay – Carneros Napa Valley
Winemaker: Danielle Cyrot
Backgrounder: Carneros Chardonnay is now revered for its quality, elegance and smoothness. The Carneros viticultural area, a winegrowing region which straddles the Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley, has been a great source of wine that we have featured here. Always, those wine have been of supreme quality. The cool Carneros region provides ideal growing conditions for Chardonnay and Chardonnay literally thrives there. St. Clement is a Wine Spies favorite and we are proud to bring you today’s special Single Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report to learn more about this great Chardonnay
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Bright golden straw with perfect clarity and glinting highlights. When swirled, this wine has a softly bouncy look. When it settles down, tight clusters of chubby legs take forever to appear before they slowly move down the glass
Smell – A stupendous fresh fruit rush of exotic green melon, cantaloupe, apple, and subtle pear mingle lovingly with soft citrus, yeast, minerals and a hint of vanilla custard
Feel – A true delight in the mouth, this wine starts lushly round and sort at first, then, as it settles in it grips in gently at the mid-palate. As the wine warms a little (try this), the feel becomes even softer and more lush
Taste – Bright acidity, this wine presents balanced soft and bold flavors, starting with mixed melon, soft clove and subtle tropical fruit. Under-layers of tart apple, soft citrus, soft oak and flint are delicious
Finish – Very long and very flavorful, with an initial tartness that goes sweet and softly mineral-driven as flavors taper slowly
Conclusion – This fantastic Chardonnay is the first white wine we have featured from our good friends at St. Clement Vineyards. Their elegant Napa Cabernet Sauvignon is a Wine Spies favorite, and we now feel a little silly to have placed all of our attention on those wines and not their amazing white wines! At least we can say that today’s wine more than makes it up to you, for this wine is a superb example of just how wonderful a real Chardonnay can be. As a loyal Operative, you know that we have shown relatively few Chardonnays here. This notorious pickiness is to your advantage, as you can be assured that any Chard we feature here is real winning example of this sometimes difficult varietal. This wine shines as a complex, flavorful and non-boring Chardonnay that you will find not only delicious, but also very interesting. Enjoy this wine on a hot summer day as a casual sipper, or as the center of conversation about great white wines!
The following is an extract from our first-encounter mission report, in which Agent White first becomes acquainted with our now-good friends at St. Clement:
It was perhaps the strangest of locations to start a wine mission. I entered the church and as the instructions indicated, I was to go to the second pew and show penance. As I knelt, in the pew, I noticed a book with a bookmark in it. Looking more closely, it was a history of the Papacy and the page that was bookmarked was about Pope Clement I (Clemens Romanus), who is also known as St. Clement. No being sure if this was the clue, I stayed for another hour and beyond the woman practicing on the organ, nobody came or went from the church.
Back at HQ, I entered in our research computer the search term ‘Clement’ and found that indeed, the bookmark was a clue. All signs pointed in the direction of St. Clement Vineyards in Napa Valley. We had an asset who could get us some additional intel so I PIN messaged Agent Malbec and within a few hours a courier had delivered a bottle of the St. Clement to our front company.
The bottle was immediately taken to the lab for analysis. The results were clear; It was an almost perfect wine, with fruit from one of the best vineyards in Napa. St. Clement had been on our radar for a couple months. Their winemaker Danielle Cyrot, with a long lineage of European winemakers was making quite a name for herself.
But as we always say, the proof is in the juice… Lab results, research, walks through the vineyards are all nice, but its in the glass that matters… Well, there’s no knelling for St. Clement wines. After tasting it, we were jumping for joy.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of St. Clement Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
St. Clement Vineyards, Member, Napa Valley Vintners
Awards and Accolades:
Voted Best Boutique Winery Two Years In A Row By Napa and Sonoma Valleys magazine.
Voted Best Local Winemaker – Winemaker Danielle Cyrot -
About This Wine:
The grapes for this Chardonnay are hand-picked and whole-cluster pressed to protect the delicate flavors and aromas. This Chardonnay is 100 percent barrel fermented in French oak (50 percent new), with the remaining portion in two and three-year-old French oak. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation and is aged sur lie for nine months to give it a rich, creamy texture.
Signature aromas of cantaloupe and honeydew melon are complemented by notes of caramel, red apple and orange blossom. The palate follows through with a creamy texture and flavors of fresh melon, cloves and lemon custard. The wine finishes with a cleansing acidity, which makes it easy to pair with a variety of dishes.
Vineyard Notes: The fruit for this Chardonnay comes from our Abbott’s Vineyard located in Carneros, which typically experiences The fruit for this Chardonnay comes from our Abbott’s Vineyard located in Carneros, which typically experiences a long, cool growing season due to the influence of the San Pablo Bay. The 2007 vintage produced superb white wines. The season began with a dry winter, this trend continued throughout the growing season, and we received about 60 percent of normal precipitation overall. Warm spring temperatures resulted in an early budbreak, bloom and set in the vineyards. Summer temperatures were mild aside from a brief heat spike around Labor Day. This added the boost of sugar development that we were looking for to complement the excellent acid structure in the Chardonnay.
About The Winery:
The philosophical approach to winemaking at St Clement is all about the land of Napa Valley. Much has been written about the idyllic nature and diversity of this 50-mile long valley. It is this diversity that forms the foundation for our approach to winemaking.
As an artist holds many colors on the palette to create subtle hues, we hold a collection of vineyards from the north in Calistoga to the south in Carneros and from the alluvial benches of the valley floor at Rutherford to the cloud clinging heights of Mt Veeder.
We take the fruit from this collection of small, independent growers to balance, blend and build our wines into totalities that mirror the complexity and beauty of the Napa valley itself.
About The Winemaker:
Danielle Cyrot – Winemaker, St. Clement Vineyards – As the third decade of her life begins, Danielle Cyrot brings a broad scope of international winemaking expertise that extends well beyond her age. And as the descendant of French vignerons whose history goes back for centuries, she is also renewing an enological tradition that had been dormant for three generations.
Varietal Content: 100% Chardonnay
Appellation: Carneros, Napa Valley
Vineyard: Abbott’s Vineyard
Harvest Dates: September 10 – 18, 2007
Bottling Completed: September 2008
Release Date: January 2009
Case Production: 1,145 cases