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Neyers El Novillero Chardonnay 2009

Chardonnay from Carneros, California
  • RP94
0% ABV
  • WS91
  • WS92
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Winemaker Notes

In the late 1980's, sisters Nancy and Sandy Donnell teamed up with the Sangiacomo family to develop this striking vineyard in the western hills of the Carneros District. The soil here is clay-loam, but with a mix of gravel and basalt. The vineyard sits on a hillside that resembles a natural amphitheater, opening to the southeast and the cooling breezes of the San Francisco Bay. It's a rare spot -- one where the soil, the elevation and the climate are all ideal for Chardonnay grapes. Together they produce fruit of the highest possible quality under near-perfect conditions. The wine is amply aromatic, crisp and round just where it needs to be, and beautifully flavored. Just as Michael Pollan in Second Nature refers to a garden as the caretaker's 'autograph', we think of this bottling of Chardonnay as the ultimate representation of ourselves, and what we aspire to as vintners.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2009 Chardonnay El Novillero Vineyard reminds me of some of the glory days of Louis Latour's Corton-Charlemagne. Smoky bacon fat, poached pear, honeysuckle, peach and earth all combine in a full-bodied, minerally, yet authoritatively flavored Chardonnay that is part California and seemingly part French. This beauty, from a cool-climate vineyard, is just that loaded. Drink it over the next 5-6 years.
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Neyers

Neyers

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Neyers, Carneros, California
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In 1999, Bruce and Barbara Neyers purchased and renovated a winery on a thirty-acre parcel in the Sage Canyon area of Napa Valley. Over the next 14 months they built a modern, highly functional winery designed for traditional winemaking practices. They produced their first vintage in this state of the art facility in 2000. In 2002, Wine and Spirits Magazine named Neyers Vineyards the Artisan Winery of the Year.

About 25% of our production is Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grown on Bruce and Barbara’s 50-acre, Conn Valley ranch. They purchase additional grapes from a select group of growers, among them the Sangiacomo family of the Carneros District, Will Nord of Napa, the Rossi Ranch of Sonoma County, Markus Bokisch and the Evangelho family.

Even though Neyers Vineyards sits in the heart of the Napa Valley, Bruce's experience with French wine importer Kermit Lynch has had an undeniable influence on their wines. Many of the French producers Bruce has worked with farm organically, make their wines naturally without use of cultured yeast or laboratory designed malo-lactic starter, and bottle their wines without fining or filtration. Neyers barrels are made in France, to our specifications, from wood that we buy in bulk and air dry for three years, two years longer than normal. All of the grapes are picked by hand, into small bins that hold only one-half ton. They are then laboriously hand sorted and inspected at the winery as winemaker Tadeo Borchardt gently guides the winemaking process along. As Bruce says, “No expense has been spared in our grape growing, winemaking practices, or processing equipment, yet customers repeatedly tell us that our wines represent great value in today's highly competitive wine market.” Bruce Neyers produces his own content for the company blog, “Vintner Tales.” 

Carneros

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Known for elegant wines that combine power and finesse, Carneros is set in the rolling hills that straddle the southernmost parts of both Sonoma and Napa counties. The cooling winds from the abutting San Pablo Bay, combined with lots of midday California sunshine, create an ideal environment for producing wines with a perfect balance of crisp acidity and well-ripened fruit.

This cooler pocket of California lends itself to growing Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah. Carneros is an important source of sparkling wines made in the style of Champagne as well.

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.

WWH121800_2009 Item# 108585