Mount Eden Vineyards Estate Chardonnay 1999
"Excellent structure, rich and intense, a flinty style with complex fig, apricot, anise and buttery notes, picking up citrus and honey on a long, lingering, mineral aftertaste. Needs time; has a good track record for improving with age."
Mount Eden Vineyards is a small historic wine estate perched at 2000 feet overlooking Silicon Valley in the Santa Cruz Mountain Appellation, about 50 miles south of San Francisco. Founded in 1945, it is recognized as one of the original “boutique” California winery properties, focusing on small lots of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Mount Eden’s lineage of estate bottled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is the longest in California. Planted in austere, infertile Franciscan shale on a cool, exposed mountaintop, these low-yielding estate vineyards have consistently produced world-class wines for over a half-century. In 2007 Mount Eden acquired an additional 55 acre wine estate in the Saratoga foothills, which was christened Domaine Eden.
Mount Eden Vineyards also produces non-estate Chardonnays from the central coast, primarily Edna Valley. They have great success making Chardonnay from the Wolff Vineyard and are continually recognized as making outstanding wines from that region.
Since 1981 Jeffrey Patterson has guided the winemaking and grape growing at Mount Eden. His emphasis is on wine growing rather than winemaking; and an obsession with gentleness and naturalness in the handling of the grapes and wines is his ongoing passion.
A rugged and topographically diverse cool-climate appellation with a rich history, the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA stretches from Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco, to the northern border of Monterey County. Elevations range from 800 feet to upwards of 3,000 and microclimates vary substantially depending on which side of the mountains the vineyards lie; cool ocean winds and fog play an important role here. This can be a challenging region in which to grow grapes, but it is well worth the effort. Santa Cruz Mountains wines are noted for balanced acidity levels, often showing great aging potential. Wine has been made here since the 1800s, most notably from the legendary Ridge Vineyards, whose Monte Bello vineyard garners international admiration.
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are the stars of this region, while Merlot and Zinfandel also perform quite well. Organic and sustainable vineyard practices are becoming increasingly common.
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.