1988 Napa Valley Chardonnay

The wild weather patterns of the 1988 growing year, an unusual winter, early spring snow, and searing heat in early and late summer, made for vintage-distinct wines. The fruit was harvested with smaller than normal bunch and berry size, which resulted in extra-ordinary concentration and variety character. As I told our long-time Chardonnay grower, John Hanna, while crushing a gondola of his fruit, “…the intensity of flavor in these grapes is off the scale!”

vintage weather

Hot. Relatively dry winter, warm spring, early bud break. Rainy weather at bloom reduced crop size. Hot summer and a long crush. Like ’87, low production and concentrated wines

tasting notes

After only one year of bottle aging, this wine is already showing a great deal of complexity. It has a brilliant gold color with a slight greenish hue, indicating its youthfulness. The aroma and bouquet are the first indicators of this wine's concentration and complexity. The predominate aroma of spicy apples melds beautifully with the vanilla and caramel tones from oak aging.

The wine has a tasty, bright, and balanced flavor range that follows the pattern of the bouquet with a fresh, snappy feel, typically of Montelena's Chardonnays. Behind the variety fruit flavors are the tones of lemon and spice with just a hint of caramel late in the finish, which bodes well for further development in the bottle. This is a concentrated, finely balanced example of Napa Valley Chardonnay. Enjoy.

Harvest Date August 27 to September 14
Sugar At Harvest 23.5° brix
Bottling Date August 1989
Release Date September 1990
Alcohol 13.0%