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ZD Wines Chardonnay 2004

Chardonnay from Napa Valley, California
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    Winemaker Notes

    The grapes were harvested at optimal maturities and barrel fermented in 100% American Oak barrels in ZD's state-of-the-art cellar, which is kept at a cool 48°F during fermentation. This slow, cold fermentation lasts upwards of 8-10 weeks, and helps preserve the lush tropical and citrus aromas that can dissipate during more traditional warmer fermentations. No malo-lactic fermentation ensures a perfect balance of forward fruit and crisp acidity. Aged for 10 months in barrel adds a richness and complexity that rounds out this distinctive chardonnay. With aromas of sweet pineapple, vanilla, pear and lemon zest, this wine exudes richness. Full bodied on the palate, pineapple, pear and sweet vanilla predominate, with a rich creamy mouth-feel that is perfectly balanced with the natural acidity.

    Critical Acclaim

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    ZD Wines

    ZD Wines

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    ZD Wines, Napa Valley, California
    2004 Chardonnay
    ZD Winery began as a partnership of two aerospace engineers whose initials formed the name of the winery: Norman de Leuze and Gino Zepponi. In 1968 they rented a small farm building in the Carneros region of Sonoma County; theirs was the first new winery permit issued in Sonoma County for nearly 20 years. ZD's 1969 Pinot Noir carries the historical significance of being the first wine to have a Carneros designation on the label. During the 1970s, a very open-minded approach was taken towards trying new and different varieties and growing regions. Research was undertaken to discover which regions produced the winegrape varieties that best reflected ZD's developing style - wines with rich, vibrant flavors. Over the years, ZD experimented with Zinfandel from the Shenandoah Valley; Pinot Noir from Oregon, Napa and Santa Barbara; Chardonnay from Napa, Sonoma, Monterey and Santa Barbara; Gewürztraminer from the Carneros; and more, plus extensive experimentation with use of oak from different regions of the United States and France. After 10 years of producing wine as a part-time business, Norman left engineering to devote all of his time to doing what had become a full-time passion. A new winery was built near Rutherford in the Napa Valley in 1979. After a decade of experimentation with various grape varieties, ZD Winery returned to its original goals and limited production to only Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. Today, the de Leuze family continues to produce wines with a personal, hands-on approach.

    Napa Valley

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    One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

    Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.


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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.

    WWI198051_2004 Item# 89609