2018 “Boon Fly's Hill” Chardonnay
The Chardonnay from Boon Fly’s Hill, within our Poseidon Vineyard, produces our most opulent Chardonnay, with great depth. Aromatics are rich with peach, vanilla, plumeria, spice and a gentle lift of toasty oak. Medium-heavy weight on the palate, its flavors of apricot, ripe peach, brown sugar brûlée and a touch of tropical passion fruit are expertly balanced by a bright acidity that meld into a lingering finish. Age worthy.
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.
As the impact of the 2011-2017 drought continued to fade, the growing season was characterized by moderate temperatures. Fruit development was gradual, without stress, and uniform. But as harvest got underway, temperatures varied dramatically, creating a nerve-wracking stop-start, wait-versus-race dynamic for the crews and cellar. Attention and experience in the vineyard proved critical during this stretch. While wildfires created havoc in other parts of the state, the Poseidon Vineyard was entirely unaffected. The harvest was one of the most generous and flavorful crops in recent memory.
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 almost a year before it is racked into neutral Kádár barrels for the final five months of conditioning. At last it is bottled, unfined and just lightly filtered.
Alex Beloz, Winemaker