2018 Chardonnay 'Carneros District'
"The 2018 growing season in Napa and Sonoma counties was one of those great years we encounter all too infrequently as winemakers. There was plenty of rain in the winter, and little if any frost in the spring. The weather was mild for most of the summer, and the final stages of ripening leading up to the harvest were ideal ‘Indian Summer’ days, with warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine. The growing season avoided any agricultural problems.
The wines are immediately striking in their complete absence of flaws. A further look reveals the subtle components that will make this harvest one of the best in the past quarter century. Naturally high acid levels from the cool summer combined with slow, gentle ripening to provide us with the near-perfect raw materials that can make a vintage legendary.
Going back to taste our other bottlings from the 2018 vintage after some additional time in bottle has made us even more enthusiastic about the year. Our traditional winemaking practices have done much to enhance the charm and maximize the complexity of the vintage.
The 2018 Chardonnay ‘Carneros District’ from Neyers Vineyards is a blend of fruit from the Sangiacomo Home Vineyard, along with grapes from Jim and Del Yamakawa’s vineyard near the northern limit of the Carneros AVA. We also included fruit from Nancy and Sandy Donnell’s El Novillero Vineyard at the AVA’s western limit, and the southern Carneros District vineyard of the Ceja family. All are cold climate vineyards, and the grapes were harvested between September 26 and October 15, more than two full weeks later than in 2017. The soils are all rich with clay, giving us high Nitrogen levels to support the native, wild-yeast fermentation.
That additional ‘hang-time’ in 2018 allowed the grapes to physiologically ripen, so the pulp at the center of each berry was mature. The juice settled easily because of the low pH, and the skins were an attractive -- almost transparent – yellow. The resulting flavors are tasty and agreeable, loaded with tropical fruit and exotic flavors. This is a California Chardonnay that will improve in the bottle for a decade or more, while it provides an attractive drinking experience along the way. We could hardly be more pleased." ~~ Bruce Neyers