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Flat front label of wine

St. Clement Abbott Vineyard Chardonnay 1997

Chardonnay from Napa Valley, California
  • WS90
0% ABV
  • WS92
  • WS91
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Winemaker Notes

This vintage, in all its ripeness, shows qualities more traditional to a great white Burgundy. It is a luscious wine full of rich flavors and creamy viscosity. In the nose, there is a definite ripeness with traditional pear/apple, tropical fruit flavors characteristic of Chardonnay from the Carneros area.

In the mouth there is a big, full sweet fruit entry, with hints of yeast and wood components and a little spice and hazelnut. There is also a sweet fig and butterscotch character. The flavors coat the mouth with a creamy sensation, but the wine has a crisp finish of lemon and yeast. It is rich but delicate. I would serve this wine with flavorful, rich foods such as Cioppino, or a spicy Cajun dish.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 90
Wine Spectator
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St. Clement

St. Clement Vineyards

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St. Clement Vineyards, Napa Valley, California
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This historic Napa winery was purchased by Beringer in 1999. Beringer Wine Estates also owns Meridian Vineyards, Chateau St. Jean, Napa Ridge, Chateau Souverain and Stags' Leap Winery. St. Clement Vineyards will continue to produce small lots of premium wines under the same winemaking staff, with the universal goal of producing the best wines possible from exceptional regional fruit.

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’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.

Perfect Pairings

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.

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. 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.

COL72503_1997 Item# 8900