2013 Franciscan Estate Chardonnay Napa Valley
Pale yellow, flinty mineral notes with hints of pear compote and vanilla bean, followed by toasted hazelnuts and Meyer lemon curd. Lovely, creamy, and vibrant with honeycrisp apple and pear fruit filling the palate. White nectarine and lemon zest lead to a round and generous mouthfeel with a crisp line of minerality.
The 2013 vintage gave us near perfect growing conditions. This led to an early harvest, with the first Estate Chardonnay grapes arriving at the winery from our Larsen vineyard in Carneros on September 6, 15 days ahead of 2012 and 20 days ahead of 2011. Spring conditions were warm and dry, leading to an early bud break and very even set. Aside from one hot spell at the end of June, temperatures remained moderate throughout the spring and summer. With only eight inches of rain from January through June, the vines had less green growth and an earlier turn to fruit development. As harvest progressed, we continued to press Chardonnay through September, with the last grapes arriving on September 23.
With Chardonnay, Franciscan Estate looks for the sort of richness and opulence that malolactic fermentation and sur lie aging in oak barrels bring. They help to deliver that delicious, creamy complexity for which Franciscan Estate Chardonnay is known. But Chardonnay also needs a foundation and structure for all of that richness and fruit. Minerality is essential. So we turn to cooler vineyards in southern Napa Valley, in particular the Carneros District, where the soil is dense clay. The result is grapes that offer impressive structure and mineral flair. ~ Janet Myers, Winemaker