Ancien Chardonnay Musque 2018, Coombsville, California

The Old Block of the Haynes Vineyard, located in a cool pocket of the southeastern Napa Valley, is a part of California winemaking history. Among the vines in the Old Block of Haynes Vineyard Chardonnay, Ken found through examining and tasting the grapes that a handful of these vines showed “musque” characteristics. A selection of these specific vines led to the Musque Chardonnay. Grapes were tasted and selected on a vine-by-vine basis evaluating for the rare “musque” character. The cuttings were then taken and planted to two rows in another section of the vineyard, which yield just a couple barrels each vintage. The vines are all varietal Chardonnay but possess the unique clonal traits lending the floral “terpene” aromatics reminiscent of varieties like Muscat, Viognier or Gewurtztraminer – though certainly in more subtle fashion. This wine was made much in the same way as our other Chardonnays, fermented entirely in French cooperage. Bottling was done after a total of 9 months in barrel. The magic of Musque is first revealed in its sweetly efflorescent nose. Juicy notes of guava, tangerine and red delicious apple are perfumed with freesia. The generous and opulent palate, together with the vibrancy of the aforementioned fruit and floral notes, make this a uniquely enjoyable Chardonnay. There is a tangy earthiness to this vintage, which reveals it to have an herbal dimension and notes of alfalfa. Over the first year or two after release we see the tropical fruits become more amplified and even juicier on the palate, fully integrating with heady floral notes.