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Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection Chardonnay 1999

Chardonnay from Napa Valley, California
  • W&S89
0% ABV
  • WE89
  • W&S88
  • WE88
  • WS88
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Winemaker Notes

1999 was a great year for Chardonnay. The growing season was so long and cool that the grapes were not picked until late in the harvest. This allowed ample time for full flavor and aroma development. The wine has deep tropical pear and pineapple aromas with the luscious palate flavours of apple and sweet melons. The wine is 50% barrel fermented "sur lies" and is aged in French oak for eight months, which adds the toasty, creamy texture and flavor to the finish.

When searching for top quality Chardonnay in California, there seems to be impressive wines coming from every major viticultural area in the state. The search becomes more focused as we develop our own stylistic preferences for our Diamond Series Chardonnay. We have settled on northern Monterey County, near Salinas, where the fog and wind blow through the valley almost constantly, keeping the area cool and the growing season lengthy. The wines here are very aromatic and are loaded with bright apple flavors and aromas. They tend to have higher acidity levels that really are ideal for both barrel and malolactic fermentation. But for the wonderfully expressive tropical fruit flavors, we need to blend vineyards from the warmer climates of the state like San Luis Obispo and Mendocino Counties. These grapes give us the powerful pineapple and sweet pear flavors that both add density and round the palette of the finished wine. The end result from blending the same grape but from different growing areas is to make a more interesting and enjoyable wine for our customers and clients.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 89
Wine & Spirits
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Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola Winery

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Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Napa Valley, California
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Francis Ford Coppola Winery, re-opened in July 2010, is the latest venture from Francis Ford Coppola, whose passion for wine, food and adventure is nowhere more evident than in this new production – a winery resort located in the heart of Alexander Valley, California. Among the many attractions at the property, Francis Ford Coppola Winery features a wine tasting bar, two restaurants, swimming pools, a movie gallery, a performing arts pavilion and a park area with game tables and bocce courts.

Francis puts it best, saying the winery is meant to be "a wine wonderland, a park of pleasure where people of all ages can enjoy all the best things in life – food, wine, music, dancing, games, swimming and performances of all types. A place to celebrate the love of life."

Napa Valley

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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.

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 is grown and how it is made. While practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy 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. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.

NDV491194_1999 Item# 17184