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Burgess Chardonnay 1998
This wine shows a high level of mature fruit along with the toasty tones of its French Vosges oak barrel aging. It has classic components, which complement food and with layers of complexity provide a long-lasting finish.
Burgess Cellars has been family owned and creating wines with mountain distinction since 1972 on Howell Mountain in Napa Valley. When our founder Tom Burgess purchased the 1870’s era winery in 1972 he established himself as a pioneer of mountain side wineries. Today, the second generation is building on Tom’s legacy. Brothers Steven Burgess and James Burgess took over as President and Vineyard Manager respectively. In 2013, Winemaker Kelly Woods, a UC Davis graduate, completed the new team, and together the trio has fined-tuned the vineyards and cellar to highlight mountain grapes. The new direction of the estate is taking Burgess Cellars to the pinnacle of Napa Valley wine quality. At almost 1000 feet, far over the valley floor, we produce wines from our two estate hillside vineyards, Winery Ranch Vineyard and Haymaker Vineyard. Our hillside grapes tend to be smaller, with more concentrated flavors and tannins, varietal intensity and excellent aging properties. A visit to Burgess Cellars begins with a panoramic vista that offers real perspective on the Napa Valley. One can see the length of the Mayacamas range, from Calistoga to the hills beyond Napa.
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 1960's, 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 1980's, 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. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific 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 is 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 reds 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. 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’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.
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.
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.