2017 Poseidon Vineyard "Boon Fly's Hill” Chardonnay
The color is between lemon and gold, with an aromatic riot of lemon crème brûlée, toast and caramel. Your nose expects this wine to be intense and heavy on the palate, but surprise! the velvety acid keeps it medium weight and dancing, with a shy entry of late-season stone fruit, kiwi, papaya and a long finish of lemon meringue with a touch of caramel and pineapple. Oak is integrated, but there if you focus on it. A serious wine of longevity.
At our Poseidon Vineyard, originally planted in 1973, the maritime influence of the Carneros grape-growing season delivers cool, foggy mornings followed by warm days; ripening is nurtured slowly. Rising at the southernmost edge of the vineyard is the small, gravelly “Boon Fly's Hill” that overlooks the Napa Valley Marina; boats bob in the water just a few steps away. Boon Fly was a colorful character from the early days of the settlement of Carneros; legend has it that he is buried somewhere on this hill. This two-acre block of vines consistently produces our most elegant and distinguished Chardonnay, and we honor that distinctiveness—and Boon Fly himself—with this reserve bottling.
Northern California continued to recover from the drought, and the year began with abundant rainfall and mild spring weather. The rejuvenated vines produced a beautiful crop. Summer temperatures were normal and harvest began slightly early and slowly. On October 8th, terrible wildfires erupted in Napa and Sonoma Counties. We were fortunate that we had already completed the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir harvest from Poseidon Vineyard. Obsidian Ridge Vineyard was well north of the fire and smoke and was totally unaffected. It was a year that the attentive winemaker, one familiar with his vineyards and with a committed and reliable crew, was rewarded.
The crest of Boon Fly’s Hill ripens earlier than the rest of our Chardonnay blocks. In this sandy, gravel-rich soil, clusters are smaller, and so are the berries themselves. Because the vines are more exposed at the crest, the sun-kissed fruit develops the ripe, rich flavors that make this wine so opulent. Fruit is picked at dawn and pressed whole-cluster, and the juice is immediately placed into new Kádár Heavy Toast barrels. The barrels are quickly placed into a cold room, where long, drawn-out primary and secondary fermentations allow for the lees to contribute creamy flavors to the wine. After this initial active period, the wine sits untouched for a year before it is racked into neutral Kádár barrels for the final 10 months of conditioning. At last it is bottled, unfined and just lightly filtered.
Alex Beloz, Winemaker