2016 Chardonnay 'El Novillero'
The Donnell family’s El Novillero Vineyard sits in a natural amphitheater at the western boundary of the Carneros AVA, at an elevation of 400-500 feet, where it faces southeast looking directly at San Francisco Bay. The soil combines gravel with the more common volcanic Basalt of the area, and a touch of typical Carneros clay. The fruit ripens slowly under these conditions and yields are low so we find strong, attractive flavors like mango, peach and melon.
Our traditional winemaking technique of using only native yeast ensures that the fermentation will be slow and allow for the development of the ‘Hazelnut’ aromas that are so desirable. The alcohol levels are low, and the fruit acid is naturally high due to the chilly weather. A near-perfect balance is achieved with the aging in new and used French oak barrels custom made for us by Jean François at François Frères in the Burgundy region of France.