William Harrison Chardonnay 2013
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Antonio Perelli-Minetti is our patriarch who immigrated from Italy in 1902 and was the first winemaker in California to hold a winemaking degree. He is considered to be one of the most important figures in California's winemaking heritage. His daughter Conchita Perelli-Minetti had a son named William (Bill) Harrison, who continues the tradition of quality winemaking, now in the Napa Valley.
Bill Harrison grew up at his grandfather's winery in the San Joaquin Valley. After earning a Bachelors degree at the University of Santa Clara, and an MBA at U.C. Berkeley, he served for two years as an Armor Officer in the First Infantry Division.
In 1966 Bill began working for the California Wine Association (CWA), a company owned by his grandfather and his grandfather's sons. There he held various wine sales and marketing positions in New York, New England, the Southwest and California.
In1978 Bill moved to the production side of the winemaking business as Operations Manager at his Grandfathers winery, A. Perelli-Minetti & Sons. This million-case winery was producing table wine, dessert wine, sparkling wine, vermouth and brandy. In the early 1980's both the California Wine Association and A. Perelli-Minetti & Sons were sold. Bill Harrison decided to start his own company based on the concept of providing wineries with a mobile bottling service. At the same time, Bill moved to the Napa Valley and founded the Rutherford estate which today is the location of our winery. Bill's company, Estate Bottling, is still providing the specialized service that many new small wineries depend on.
In 1993 after years of selling grapes from his Rutherford estate, Bill released the first wine under his own label. We now enter our 19th vintage of Wm Harrison Estate Wines, carefully crafting classic wines which we hope would make our forefathers proud.
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.
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.
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.
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.