Grgich Hills Estate
2009 Napa Valley Chardonnay
Chardonnay •Estate Grown
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
When we sold the previous vintage of this wine, it became our Top-Selling Chardonnay of all time. Once again, Grgich Hills Estate sets the bar on great Chardonnay with this fantastic 2009 vintage. This delicious wine is perfect for all your late spring and summer get-togethers, so stock up on a true classic, from the undisputed king of Chardonnay.
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Mission Codename: The King of White Burgundy
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Operative favorite, Grgich Hills Estate and secure the newest vintage of their famous Napa Valley Chardonnay.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Grgich Hills Estate
Wine Subject: 2009 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 – Soft golden yellow with even coloration from core to glinting golden edge. After swirling, tall, skinny legs start high up on the glass before moving slowly downward.
Smell – Citrus, dried pear and cut pineapple are the primary notes when the wine is well-chilled. As it warms, it gains more complexity, revealing a unique yellow angel food cake with toasty vanilla and lemon zest. Swirl the wine for a while longer, and still more aromas emerge, including soft baking spice, toasty oak and a hint of fresh fennel.
Feel – Soft and light on the initial attack. Then, the wine gains some weight at the mid-palate, where a bright crispness introduces a soft, grippy dryness that spreads from the outer edges of the palate, inward.
Taste – Mixed citrus of Meyer lemon, sweet lime and lemon zest lead to dried apricot, dried pear, dried white flower petals of acacia and jasmine.
Finish – Long and bright with a sustained crispness that carries the citrus flavors to the far corners of the palate. As sweet citrus fades, white flowers and a slate minerality appears and a soft dryness spreads to the corners of the mouth.
Conclusion – We’ve had the great fortune to feature the last few successive vintages of this fantastic wine. Today’s 2009 Grgich Hills Estate Napa Valley Chardonnay is a softer, more elegant vintage than prior vintages, making it exceptionally easy to drink. Our tasting panel found itself spending a long time with this wine, discussing it and witnessing its evolution, allowing it to transform and open up as it warmed. Pair this beautiful wine with a mustard rubbed pork tenderloin with fresh baby spinach salad with mandarin slices and fresh red onion.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Grgich Hills Estate can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Following the classic style that Miljenko “Mike” Grgich established when we began in 1977, we did not allow the Chardonnay to undergo malolactic fermentation, and our Biodynamic farming created a wine that is alive with delicious acidity. The wine’s crisp, yet rich, flavors of apple, honeydew melon and fig with a hint of baked brioche are perfect for fresh seafood, roasted chicken, grilled pork, or creamy cheeses.
For the third year in a row, Napa Valley received only two-thirds of its average rainfall in 2009, which reduced crop levels somewhat. Spring was essentially frost-free and a relatively cool summer with no drastic heat surges brought smooth, even grape development. Just before harvest a few days of heat insured perfect ripeness when we picked in the first days of September.
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, near 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.
Varietals: 100% Chardonnay
Total acidity: 6.5 g/L
Sugar at harvest: 23.6 Brix
Fermentation: Indigenous yeast.
Oak: Fermented and aged 10 months in French oak: 60% neutral barrels, 60% Neutral, 40% new.
Harvest dates: Sept. 3 - Sept. 21, 2007
Bottling date: July, 2010