Miner Wild Yeast Chardonnay 2009
Chardonnay from Napa Valley, California
Full-bodied and lush, yet never heavy, Miner Wild Yeast Chardonnay shows off flavors of ripe pear and melon with butterscotch and hazelnut notes, balanced by oak spice and bright acidity. This is a wildly expressive wine that will reward a few years of patient cellaring. The grapes are fermented using only indigenous or "wild" yeast cultures found on the skins of the grapes themselves, in the vineyards and within the walls of the winery.
Connoisseurs' Guide - "As is often the case, Miner's Chardonnay fermented with wild yeast is an intense and very complex wine whose plentiful fruit is laced with toasty spice, and it is made more interesting yet in this outing by suggestions of roasted nuts and a bare touch of dried orange peel. The wine is mouthilling and supple with a touch of oily richness in feel, yet it is neither soft nor sluggish despite steering away from overt acid. It is rich, it is balanced and it is very long at the finish, and its minor suggestion of heat will be made moot by service with the flavorful foods that it so clearly requests."
Founded in 1988 by Dave Miner, president of Oakville Ranch Vineyards, along with his wife Emily and his parents, Ed and Norma, Miner Family Vineyards produces small lot, handcrafted wines using fruit from Oakville Ranch, Ed and Norma's vineyard and other carefully selected California vineyards. Best known for their Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, they also produce limited quantities of other varietals using a combination of old world winemaking techniques and modern technology. Their focus is on producing high end, reserve-style wines that reflect the unique characteristics of individual vineyards or terrior where those specific varietals grow best. View all Miner Wines
About Napa Valley
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.
Notable FactsWithin 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 grated 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.
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.