1986 Napa Valley Chardonnay

The 1986 growing season was excellent for Chardonnay. Being fairly cool throughout the season, there was the slow and even maturation that makes for nice, rich, complex wines. Even better, the harvest went at a moderate pace. Each vineyard could be picked at its perfect point of ripeness rather than in a rush, which is in the case in hotter vintages. Thus, the critical timing and temperature of the juice handling when we crushed these grapes was ideal.

vintage weather

Temperate Consistent. Heavy winter rains in February and March followed by a warm spring led to early bud-break. Growing season even longer than 1985. Wines rounder, softer than 1985; a few late season rains posed no major problems.

tasting notes

The ripe fruit we received is really the foundation of the 1986 "Napa Valley" Chardonnay. It is a deep gold color, but still has a tint of green from its youth. The nose and aroma are loaded with big Chardonnay fruit; lots of lemon and green apple along with the spicy rich tones developed in the cellar. While there is a hint of oak and some vanilla or "yeasty" aroma, the wine still follows the Montelena rule of "fruit first." On the palate it has lots of citrusy fruit flavor and is full-bodied without being heavy. The wine tilts slightly to the crisp or tart side now because of its youth, but a nice impression of balance carries through to a pleasant fruity finish.

Our "Napa" Chardonnays age very well and we recommend another 1 to 4 years of bottle aging to allow this wine to fully develop.

Harvest Date August 23 to September 9
Sugar At Harvest 23.5° brix
Barrel Aging 6 months
Bottling Date August 1987
Release Date September 1988
Cases Produced 13,000
Alcohol 13.0%