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Atlas Peak Chardonnay 2002

Chardonnay from Napa Valley, California
    0% ABV
    • W&S87
    • WE87
    • WE88
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    0% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    Peach, orange and spice aromas open this pretty, well-balanced wine. The palate offers melon, peach and some interesting earth/mineral accents. Good mouthfeel, slightly creamy but not mushy, and a nice, clean finish to wrap things up.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Atlas Peak

    Atlas Peak Winery

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    Atlas Peak Winery, Napa Valley, California
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    Atlas Peak was established in 1987. Over time it became clear that Atlas Peak's most valuable hidden resource was literally underfoot: the elevation of its vineyards. The grapes growing at high elevation, and above the natural fog line, experience much lower daytime temperatures than those on the valley floor, allowing the grapes to stay cool while gaining maximum sun exposure. As a result, growers up on the mountain can afford to harvest later and pick for flavor with less worry about over ripening and excessive alcohol. No grape develops as well in mountain conditions as Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Atlas Peak crafts Napa Valley mountain appellation Cabernet Sauvignon from such prestigious areas as Howell Mountain, Spring Mountain District and Mount Veeder, in addition to Atlas Peak. Atlas Peak’s Cabernet Sauvignon wines are driven by an appreciation of mountain-grown fruit and winemaking techniques that capture the distinct flavors derived from the mountain appellations in which they are grown.

    Napa Valley

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    One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. 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 many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest 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 District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

    Chardonnay

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    One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

    In the Glass

    When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.

    Perfect Pairings

    Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.

    Sommelier Secret

    Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.

    RRM53344_2002 Item# 80044