AXR Napa Valley Chardonnay 2014
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The history of the AXR estate is compounded in layers; rooted in historic tales of fierce Native American hunting grounds, wild west pioneers and the first woman vintner of California in 1886. It has changed hands over the course of 134 years to become a brewery, restaurant, inn, winery and saloon. Tales of love, lust, heartbreak, murders and great fortune create an imaginative backdrop to the present-day vision of AXR. Named after the AxR rootstalk (Aramond x Rupestris) that was so prominent in building the modern California wine industry, AXR Winery pays homage to the so-called "roots" of the industry. By utilizing modern and innovative techniques in the cellar, AXR extract the uniqueness of Napa Valley’s soils into wines enjoyable now, or many years from now. They start with hand-picked grapes, naturally fermented in small handcrafted lots, add in the expertise and palette of renowned consulting winemaker Jean Hoefliger, and you have a recipe for stunning wines that promote even better conversations, more laughs, and an invitation for others to join the group!
One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960s, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.
The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980s, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. White wines from Napa Valley are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific wine characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those are the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth red wines with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Napa Valley wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.