The full aromas give me an initial impression of ripe Golden Delicious apples and jasmine or citrus blossom. Next comes a suggestion of candied fruit – like a lemon drop. Mineral notes and a touch of caramel balance the wine's bright aromas. Pear and honeydew melon come forward. Oak provides a background for the complex fruit. The wine is soft and supple with that ideal level of acid characteristic of Carneros fruit. An impression of nectar imparts a rich, creamy texture. As the wine sits in my mouth, I taste a hint of butterscotch and barrel toast, finishing with nuances of toffee.
Ninety-four percent of the Chardonnay fermented in barrels, and primary fermentation was complete in 14 days. In barrel, all lots developed with sur lie (on the lees) aging. One hundred percent of the wine finished malolactic fermentation; all stirring of the lees took place during this secondary fermentation. The 2002 Carneros Chardonnay aged 8 months in oak barrels, 25% new and predominately French (with attractive spicy nuances contributed by a few Hungarian oak barrels). The wine went through light filtration and delicate fining. Growers: Sangiacomo, Beckstoffer, McCall, Beresini, Love, MacRostie (Wildcat Mountain), Thornton and Hountalas (Hi Vista).