Grgich Hills Estate
2009 Napa Valley Chardonnay
Chardonnay •Estate Grown
California: Napa Valley
The King of White Burgundy
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.
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.
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.
Mixed citrus of Meyer lemon, sweet lime and lemon zest lead to dried apricot, dried pear, dried white flower petals of acacia and jasmine.
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.
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
About the Winery
Miljenko “Mike” Grgich first gained a reputation as one of the greatest winemakers in the world at the celebrated “Paris Tasting” of 1976. Eminent French judges chose Mike’s 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay as the finest white wine in the world. Mon Dieu!
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. 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.
Winemaker Ivo Jeramaz
Ivo was born in Croatia to a family of grape growers and as boy he assisted in making wine for his family’s enjoyment. In 1986, with the help of his uncle, Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, Ivo followed his dream and came to Napa Valley.
He quickly fell in love with the scenic beauty of the area and became fascinated with wine making. During his almost-three decades at Grgich Hills Ivo has worked his way up in responsibility, learning the classic style and art of winemaking from his uncle, supported by the tools of science and technology.
While he has taken enology and viticulture courses at UC Davis, Ivo says, “I’ve learned more working in the vineyards and in the winery with Mike.” Under the guidance of his uncle, Ivo is now responsible for the day-to-day operations in the cellar and the vineyard.
“At Grgich Hills, we grow grapes like my grandfather did, farming without chemicals and pesticides,” Ivo says. “Mike taught me early in my career that you need great grapes to make great wine. Over the years, I’ve focused on working with the land. Through our natural farming, it’s been very rewarding to see the soil alive with healthier plants than under conventional farming. It allows the wines to be more authentic—more distinctive.”
Since 2003, our vineyards have been in full production, and our wines are 100% estate-grown, produced, and bottled. We have 366 total acres planted in five vineyards that form a string of pearls running through the heart of Napa Valley: American Canyon, Carneros, Yountville, Rutherford, and Calistoga.
Each has its own unique climate, and we have carefully chosen the varietals best-suited for each vineyard’s terroir. Because our vineyards are so vital to the success of our winemaking, we put great emphasis on being thoughtful stewards of our land and vines. We have done so for more than 30 years, and that is one primary reason why Grgich Hills has consistently produced award-winning wines that are enjoyed across America and all around the world.
Sustainable Farming Practices
Our guiding philosophy is quite simple: great wines always begin with exceptional fruit. Committed to natural winegrowing and sustainability, we farm our five estate vineyards without artificial fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, and they are all Certified Organic.