2017 Chardonnay 'Chuy's Vineyard'
The Chardonnay we bottle at Neyers as Chuy’s Vineyard comes from grapes grown at about 1200 feet elevation in the rocky hills of Moon Mountain, north and slightly east of Glen Ellen on the west-facing slope of the Mayacamas Range, dividing Napa and Sonoma Counties.
The vineyard was planted by Chuy Ordaz in 1968 using St. George rootstock budded to ‘Shot-Wente’ plant material, so yields are small, especially so in years of low rainfall, as the vineyard is dry farmed. The vineyard reaches nearly to the top of the hill where the Mt. Veeder AVA begins at the Napa Valley county line. The property is owned by the John Fisher family who began to call it Chuy’s Vineyard in deference to Chuy who is considered a spiritual leader of the elite group of growers who have been farming vines in this region for almost half a century. The vines still receive a good amount of fog cover in summer, keeping the ambient temperature low, so at harvest we see relatively high acid levels accompanied by low pH. This makes the wine fresh and crisp while at the same time allowing for a relatively low alcohol level that lets the mineral component shine.
Fermentation is done entirely with native, wild yeast, and malo-lactic fermentation occurs without the addition of any outside starter bacteria. We barrel age the new wine for about a year in 40% new French oak barrels, most of them from François Frères of St. Romain in Burgundy. The crop was smaller than normal in 2017 so we bottled only 115 cases, unfined and unfiltered.
We’ve always been attracted to the strong lemon-curd component that is set against the backdrop of grilled bread, cinnamon and baked dough. It’s a gratifying example of the heights we can reach today in California Chardonnay. - Bruce Neyers
Origin - Sonoma Valley
Vineyard - Chuy’s Vineyard
Barrel program - 40% New French Oak, 60% Used French Oak
Composition - 100% Chardonnay