2022 “The Bench” Chardonnay
“The Bench” is known for striking a balance between ripe fruit character and the bright, natural acidity exhibited by Chardonnay grown in this coolspot. Large format Hungarian oak barrels add texture and weight to the palate without overtly oaky character. The rich, creamy texture and long finish are reminiscent of lemon curd, meringue, and graham cracker spice.
Poseidon Vineyard, located at the confluence of Carneros Creek and the Napa River, was planted in 1973 by the Molnar Family to the Burgundian varietals: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The maritime environment of the Carneros grape-growing region delivers cool, foggy mornings followed by warm days that slowly nurture ripening. This seaside influence is particularly acute on our estate, where one can see the masts of boats bobbing in the water just a few steps to the south. The prominent feature of our vineyard is the gravelly, geological “Bench”—the elevated, rocky, former riverbank of Carneros Creek—that runs serpentine through the center of the site. From this unique geological feature spring some of our most distinct, small-production wines.
Throughout the North Coast, 2022 is regarded as a hot, dry, and fast harvest, with drought conditions and a brutal September heatwave followed by unusual rains wreaking havoc for many. Our Estate Vineyard’s position at the water's edge protected us from excessive heat and resulted in a very different story. An unusually small crop of chardonnay and pinot noir ripened early, well ahead of any concern of rain.
Hand harvested and whole-cluster pressed in small batches and then barrel-fermented in 20% new, 300-liter barrels that are lightly toasted specifically for this wine. These special, larger-format barrels provide all the good things that barrel fermentation brings to Chardonnay: full body and sweeter flavors. The unique low toast of the barrels ensures that the fruit aromas and flavors will shine through. Half the lots completed malolactic fermentation. All lots had lees stirred regularly, then racked once before bottling.
Alex Beloz, Winemaker