Stony Hill Chardonnay 2013
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
If Stony Hill wines had to be characterized in one word, it would be balance. The McCrea family aims to achieve a balance between the intensely flavored fruit from its hillside vineyards and the notable acidity that gives the wine structure and the aging potential for which it's been known for more than five decades. The winery's goal is simply to translate the intense fruitiness of our grapes into elegant, food friendly wines. To that end, grapes are crushed and pressed with minimum skin contact and fermented in neutral oak cooperage. The wine is aged in neutral oak barrels, most of which are over ten years old, allowing the wine to develop and mature without absorbing an oak flavor component that could mask the natural fruit flavors.
Above the town of St. Helena on the eastern slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains sits the Spring Mountain District.
A dynamic region, its vineyards, cut by numerous springs and streams, vary in elevation, slope and aspect. Soils differ throughout with over 20 distinct types inside of the 8,600 acres that define the appellation. Within that area, only about 1,000 are planted to vineyards. Predominantly farmed by small, independent producers, the region currently has just over 30 wineries.
During the growing season, late afternoon Pacific Ocean breezes reach the Spring Mountain vineyards, which sit at between 400 and 1,200 feet. Daytime temperatures during mid summer and early fall remain slightly cooler than those of the valley floor.
Spring Mountain soils—volcanic matter and sedimentary rock—create intense but balanced reds with lush and delicate tannins. The area excels with Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot and in some cooler spots, Chardonnay.
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.