Neyers El Novillero Chardonnay 2009
Chardonnay from Carneros, California
In the late 1980's, sisters Nancy and Sandy Donnell teamed up with the Sangiacomo family to develop this striking vineyard in the western hills of the Carneros District. The soil here is clay-loam, but with a mix of gravel and basalt. The vineyard sits on a hillside that resembles a natural amphitheater, opening to the southeast and the cooling breezes of the San Francisco Bay. It's a rare spot -- one where the soil, the elevation and the climate are all ideal for Chardonnay grapes. Together they produce fruit of the highest possible quality under near-perfect conditions. The wine is amply aromatic, crisp and round just where it needs to be, and beautifully flavored. Just as Michael Pollan in Second Nature refers to a garden as the caretaker's 'autograph', we think of this bottling of Chardonnay as the ultimate representation of ourselves, and what we aspire to as vintners.
The Wine Advocate - "The 2009 Chardonnay El Novillero Vineyard reminds me of some of the glory days of Louis Latour's Corton-Charlemagne. Smoky bacon fat, poached pear, honeysuckle, peach and earth all combine in a full-bodied, minerally, yet authoritatively flavored Chardonnay that is part California and seemingly part French. This beauty, from a cool-climate vineyard, is just that loaded. Drink it over the next 5-6 years. "
Begun in 1992 by Bruce and Barbara Neyers and their winemaking partner, Ehren Jordan, Neyers Vineyards produces 15,000 cases of wine annually. They rely primarily on Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grown on the Neyers' 50-acre Conn Valley ranch farmed by Hugo and Lupe Maldonado. Additioanl grapes are purchased from a select group of growers, several of which are identified on the labels of wines produced from grapes they have grown. In 1999 Neyers purchased the 30-acre Sage Canyon Winery in the foothills east of Rutherford and have developed that facility for their entire production that also includes Syrah, Grenache, Zinfandel and Chardonnay. View all Neyers Wines
About CarnerosView a map of Carneros wineries
Technically a part of Napa Valley, the Carneros region straddles both Sonoma & Napa counties. It's the Napa region closest to the San Francisco peninsula and the San Pablo Bay, which is instrumental in controlling the climate of the area. The winds from the San Pablo bay create a cool weather pattern ideal for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Notable FactsBoth Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Carneros are delicate, yet complex, with firm structure and acidity. And while the pair are the most popular varieties of the region, some winemakers have branched out, particularly with Syrah. The cool climate Syrah of Carneros is well structured and stylistically similar to Syrah from the Northern Rhone, though often fuller-bodied.
About CaliforniaIt'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.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost 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.