Grgich Hills Estate
2007 Napa Valley Chardonnay
Chardonnay •Estate Grown
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
This is a spectacular and delicious Chardonnay. Bold and richly layered, this wine easily deserves this special notification.
SECRET SAVINGS ALERT:
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Mission Codename: Balanced Dynamism
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Return to Operative favorite, Grgich Hills Estate. This time secure an allocation of their fantastic Estate Grown Napa Valley Chardonnay.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Grgich Hills Estate
Wine Subject: 2007 Napa Valley Chardonnay
Winemaker: Miljenko “Mike” Grgich
Backgrounder:Chardonnay is arguably the greatest of all white grape varietals, showing its influence in the legendary sparkling wines of Champagne, the great whites of Burgundy and of course its expression as ‘the’ white wine of California. Chardonnay represents over 50% of the planted white grapes in California with nearly 100,000 acres planted. With such a great number of wines made from this grape, it stands to reason that finding wines of immense quality would be hard, but look no further. In this wine, we have found perhaps the ideal expression of the California Chardonnay.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Beautiful golden-yellow, with edges that glisten as you swirl. The wine has springy surface, and leaves behind short and chubby legs that emerge quickly.
Smell – Bold aromas of citrus, pear, peach, mango and white flowers leap from the glass. beneath these are heady minerals, honey and soft tropical notes.
Feel – Plush, velvet smooth up front, then slightly dry and softly round on the mid-palate. Then, a more rich-bodied feel emerges as the wine fills the palate, and a soft dryness emerges.
Taste – Rich and flavorful with tart apple, pear, white peach and soft mango coat the mouth. These are accompanied by hints of fresh citrus, soft oak and fine, flinty minerals.
Finish – Long and clean with lingering flavors of citrus, sweet white flowers, orange blossom honey and a hint of soft oak.
Conclusion – This was the absolute perfect wine for a warm Spring day such as this! Chilled to perfection (not too cold, mind you), this wine was a solid and delicious delight that we could not stop sipping. Richly flavorful, never boring and not at all overpowering, this wine presents itself in perfect balance. Experiment with drinking the wine at different temperatures (from right out of the fridge, to slightly warmer) and you will delight in the range of flavors and aromatics it presents to you.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Miljenko “Mike” Grgich
DATE OF BIRTH: April 1st, 1923
PLACE OF BIRTH: Desne, in Croatia’s coastal Dalmatian region
WINE EDUCATION: Attended University of Zagreb. Field of study, viticulture and enology
CALIFORNIA WINERIES EXPERIENCE: Christian Brothers Cellars, Souverain Winery, Robert Mondavi and Beaulieu Vineyard (with André Tchelistcheff)
FOUNDED NAMESAKE WINERY: Grgich Hills Cellar, founded 1977, renamed to Grgich Hills Estate in 2006
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: To, “… year after year, is to improve the quality of [the] vineyards and [the] wines” and to, “… remain committed to making distinctive wines with quality, consistency and longevity”.
SIGNATURE VARIETAL: Chardonnay
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: In 1976, Mike Grgich’s Chateau Montelena Chardonnay won the infamous Judgement of Paris tasting, to become the best Chardonnay in the world. The fact that a California wine won the tasting shocked the wine world – and spurned Mr. Grgich on to great success with his own winery
CAREER HIGHLIGHT: On March 7, 2008, in recognition of his impact and contribution to the wine industry, Mr. Grgich was inducted into the Vintner Hall of Fame. The honor coincided with his 50th vintage of winemaking in the Napa Valley
GRGICH QUOTE: “For years, everybody in the world believed that only French soils could produce great wines. We shattered that myth. That was probably the most significant result of the Paris tasting. Our victory pumped new energy into the California wine industry, particularly in the Napa Valley.”
BLACK BERET: Mr. Grgich wears an ever present black beret. It is rumored that the beret is imbued with magical energies that power his winemaking talents. Further investigation is required…
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Grgich Hills Estate can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Crafted from grapes that were certified organic and Biodynamic, our Chardonnay did not undergo malolactic fermentation, creating a wine that is alive with delicious acidity. This aromatic wine is rich with aromas of ripe peach, mango and tropical flowers, plus a note of minerality. Showcase this Chardonnay’s elegance with fresh seafood, roasted chicken, grilled pork, or creamy cheeses.
Vintage: 2007 was a wonderful year for Chardonnay with a long, dry growing season. The warm spring brought early budding and bloom, followed by a relatively cool summer that allowed even ripening on the vine and then a heat spike at the end of August that jump-started harvest. Because we received only 60 percent of our normal precipitation, the grapes were smaller, reducing
yield but giving us concentrated flavors.
Vineyard: All of our vineyards are certified organic and Biodynamic®. This holistic farming practice uses the earth’s natural cycles and organic preparations to grow balanced, healthy vines without artificial fertilizers, pesticides, or fungicides. We grow our Chardonnay in our American Canyon and Carneros vineyards in the southern tip of Napa Valley, not far from San Pablo Bay, which spills into the San Francisco Bay. The cool maritime breezes and fog allow the grapes to slowly ripen to develop complex flavors while maintaining a pleasing natural acidity that is impossible to achieve in warmer areas.
About The Winery:
Miljenko “Mike” Grgich first gained international recognition at the celebrated “Paris Tasting” of 1976. Then, in a now-historic blind tasting, a panel of eminent French judges swirled, sniffed, and sipped an array of the fabled white Burgundies of France and a small sampling of upstart Chardonnays from the Napa Valley. When their scores were tallied, the French judges were shocked: they had chosen Mike’s 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay as the finest white wine in the world. Mon Dieu! The results stunned the international wine establishment and immediately earned Mike a reputation as one of the greatest winemakers in the world.
The Paris Tasting served notice to the world that the California wine industry was on the move, and it laid the groundwork for the creation of Grgich Hills Cellar. After his victory in Paris, Mike sat down with Austin Hills and his sister, Mary Lee Strebl, from the Hills Bros. Coffee family, and on Independence Day 1977, they gave birth to Grgich Hills. It was an ideal partnership. Austin owned premium vineyards in Rutherford, in the heart of the Napa Valley, and with his extensive background in business, he put the winery on its financial feet. Mike, with his fierce commitment to making wines of the highest quality, began producing what immediately became our signature wine: the exquisite, richly complex Chardonnays that win awards and delight wine lovers across America and throughout the world.
Today, we remain committed to making distinctive wines with quality, consistency and longevity. We are proud that world leaders such as Presidents Reagan and Clinton, Queen Elizabeth II and French President François Mitterrand chose our wines to serve at state dinners, but we are just as proud that every single day discriminating wine drinkers count on Grgich Hills to turn their own dinners into special occasions.
As always, we treat each of our six different wines as a special child, carefully nurturing their development and character. Our main pride and joy is our Chardonnay, an elegant example of the varietal displaying rich flavors and exquisite balance. As a complement to the Chardonnay, we also produce a refreshingly crisp Fumé Blanc, a rich and spicy Zinfandel, a Cabernet Sauvignon with tremendous depth and complexity, a lush and richly fragrant Merlot, and a luscious dessert wine named “Violetta,” in honor of Mike’s daughter, Violet.
Now 85 years old, and still sporting his signature blue beret, Mike was inducted into the Vinter Hall of Fame in March 2008 in honor of his many contributions to the wine industry. While many other Napa wineries pursue strategies of expansion, Mike, along with his daughter, Violet, and his nephew, Ivo Jeramaz, prefer to stay small. Their aim, year after year, is to improve the quality of their vineyards and their wines, relying on Mike’s unique artistic and intuitive touch. This strategy continues to pay significant dividends. Many wineries buy their grapes from outside vineyards. Grgich Hills now owns all of its own vineyards, all of which are certified organic and Biodynamic. Beginning with the 2003 vintage, all Grgich Hills wines are labeled “Estate Grown.” This guarantees a consistently superior level of quality, and it guarantees that Grgich Hills will remain a shining symbol of prestige and good taste. In recognition of that important milestone, the winery changed its name in 2007 to Grgich Hills Estate.
Total acidity: 7.0 g/L
Sugar at harvest: 23.5-24 Brix
Fermentation: Indigenous yeast.
Oak: Fermented and aged 10 months in French oak: 60% neutral barrels, 30% new and 10% 900 gal. casks.
Harvest dates: Sept. 3-Sept. 11, 2007
Bottling date: August 2008.