Newton's Unfiltered Chardonnay has a devoted following of wine lovers who
appreciate this rich, unfiltered style of wine. Their Chardonnay vineyard in
Carneros was planted nearly 30 years ago and this region has since
become known for producing superb cool-climate Chardonnay.
The 2005 Unfiltered Chardonnay is a light shade of gold. This rich and
powerful wine opens with orange blossom, honey, pear, crème brulee,
coconut and nutmeg spice aromas. Flavors lead with white peach and
pineapple, with a touch of honey and coconut rounding out this full
bodied wine. The light citrus finish lingers on the palate.
This rich and complex Chardonnay can complement a wide variety of
dishes. Try it with pear and arugula salad, smoked scallops or braised pork
"One of California's most glorious Chardonnays, and still somewhat under the radar, is the Newton 2005 Chardonnay Unfiltered. This is another wine that has the capacity in certain vintages to evolve for 8-10 years. A bottle of the 1991 I had recently was stunning (I rated it 92), and of course it was 16 years of age... The 2005 is fabulous, and one of the best examples of this cuvee made at Newton. Notes of honeysuckle, poached pear, brioche, and white currants are present in this wine, which also exhibits some citrus oil and a subtle influence of new oak. Full-bodied, fleshy, and rich, with super purity and stature, this is a gorgeous Chardonnay that should drink nicely for 7-10 years. One of the most spectacularly beautiful vineyards, high on the lower slopes of Spring Mountain, is Newton Vineyards. Organically farmed and impeccably manicured, this was one of the first outposts to which famed Bordeaux consultant Michel Rolland came, and an entire generation of winemakers formed by his brilliance have emerged from Newton. The overall style of the wine is one built on European elegance and longevity. The vintages from the early 1990s are still doing well, especially the 1990 and 1991." -Wine Advocate96/100
Newton Vineyard Winery
Peter and Su Hua Newton purchased one square mile of tumbling slopes high up on Spring Mountain overlooking St. Helena in 1977. The Estate was planted to Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Merlot thrives in a land which is rocky mixed with clay beneath the surface, while Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot like an impoverished soil, and Cabernet Sauvignon is happy in stony loam. The mountainous slopes of the vineyards not only have these soils, but also a full range of exposures. Spring Mountain provides the vines get all the sunlight they need without any baking heat stress.
Chardonnay needs chalky or loamy soil in a cooler region. Newton owns an old vineyard in Carneros and also has long-term grape contracts for several hillside vineyards verging on that region. Newton Unfiltered Chardonnay, introduced in 1990, is said to be the first unfiltered wine produced and sold in California, and is now regarded as an industry benchmark.
Su Hua insists on picking only ripe grapes from the vine. Her method of quality control is to be involved in every aspect of the harvest, during which time she can be found every day among the pickers. To ensure that only ripe grapes are harvested, there can be up to four separate pickings in a single vineyard - very difficult to do but, she believes, there is no other way to produce a great wine.
View all Newton Vineyard Wines
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just granted an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
I certainly didn't perceive all that stuff in the “official” review, but for the slightest hint of pineapple; rather a remarkably overwhelming aroma of butterscotch. The taste, nice as it is, doesn’t compare to the aroma.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.