Stony Hill Chardonnay 2013, Napa Valley, California

The 2013 Chardonnay crop didn’t equal the big 2012 vintage in size, but the quality of the grapes thrilled the team at Stony Hill. As always, the wine is pale straw in color and offers a big bouquet of green apples and a graceful hint of citrus. On the palate, you can detect the same fruit flavors of citrus and green apple with the added touch of earthiness, a chalky minerality from the site’s stony soils, which Stony Hill calls a wet stone quality. The mouthfeel is also great, a combination of crisp acidity which gives it bounce and a slightly forward richness for balance. All the evidence points to a long life ahead for this wine. Fred and Eleanor McCrea first stumbled across the property that would become Stony Hill Vineyard in the early 1940s. By 1943, they had made the rugged hillside spot on Spring Mountain their home. Fred and Eleanor loved the white wines of Burgundy, and while they would have planted the entire property to Chardonnay, viticulture advisors from the University of California recommended they diversify. They planted the first vines on the property in 1948 to Chardonnay, Riesling and a small amount of Pinot Blanc, followed a few years later by fields of Gewurztraminer and Semillon. The 21st century has seen the addition of Cabernet Sauvignon and a small amount of Syrah.