Lewis Cellars Napa Valley Chardonnay 2018
Like a silk robe or satin sheets the 2018 Napa Chardonnay seduces with thrilling texture. Creamy pear, crème brulee, white nectarine and gardenia blossom sprinkled with vanilla spice, it is simply delicious and irresistible. Finely structured yet opulent to the core, it is graced with a long, luscious finish.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Well-knit and powerfully structured, with unctuous flavors of ripe pear, apple pastry and dried mango, filled with toasty notes. The creamy finish lingers with hints of dried sage and quince paste. Drink now through 2025.
While there is likely to be some who will find this full-throated Chardonnay to be a little too much of a good thing, others – and we include ourselves among them – will revel in its altogether riveting richness. It is big, it is ripe and it is extremely expressive, yet it is also wonderfully well-balanced and alive for a wine of its size and intent, and its layered mix of juicy fruit, toasted grains, minerals and oaky sweetness is marked by a marvelous sense of cohesion. It will serve famously now with a range of rich foods running from salmon in sauce to roast duck and lighter pork dishes, but know that it is structured to keep and should easily hold for at least a half-dozen years.
In 1992 Debbie and Randy Lewis established a small family winery in Napa Valley and were later joined by their son Dennis in 1999. Total production is approximately 9,000 cases annually of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
They are literally hands-on in every aspect of vineyard management, winemaking, sales and distribution, and they thrive on this challenge and the relationships they ultivate in the process. It is their continuing goal to create world-class wines.
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. 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 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 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 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.