22 June, 2013

2011 Grow Wines Chardonnay: A Great Napa Wine

In the “better-late-than-never” category, this post was intended for #ChardonnayDay. In late May, I popped into one of my favorite local Napa wine bars—Oxbow Wine Merchant—and asked for whatever local Chardonnay they were pouring—in this case, the 2011 Grow Wines Ruhl Vineyard, Mount Veeder Chardonnay (14.4% ABV. $24/bottle at Oxbow Wine Merchant).  The wine had a fresh smell of Meyer lemons with the slimmest hint of oak and a delightfully tart, lively, lemon-bar start with an herbaceous and vanilla middle and finish.  As the wine warmed in the glass, vanilla and petrol became more apparent in the finish and had more baked cookies on the nose.  The wine is fresh, light-bodied, and slightly creamy.

According to their website, Grow Wines makes Chardonnay to match “the fresh foods and mild summer climate of Sweden.”  Husband and wife winemakers Lars Bjorkman and Molly Hill grow their Chardonnay (Dijon Clone 76) in Ruhl Vineyard in the southern-most part of Mt. Veeder, just above the fog line, near Carneros, where the vines get cool breezes off the San Pablo Bay.  With no malolactic fermentation and a lengthy aging on the lees, this Chardonnay is more Burgundian than Californian in style—but more than welcome to pair with the bounty of California midsummer foods. I intend to seek out more of it this summer.  Cheers, Grow Wines!


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