1990 Napa Valley Chardonnay

The 1990 vintage for Chardonnay was very good. Although the drought continued, late May rains saved the vintage from extreme drought such as we had in 1976 and 1977. As a result, the wines from 1990 have a much softer tone than the continued drought would have led us to expect. The season started out cool, but warmed up through the summer until we had a harvest as “normal” as it gets: really nice fruit day after day. A remarkable vintage for that reason alone.

vintage weather

Temperate Consistent. Low rainfall, droughty conditions, then heavy rain during bloom reduced yield by 50%. Remaining year was routine with good ripening and good fruit development. Complex and concentrated wine.

tasting notes

Our philosophy of capturing the essence of the vineyard in the style of the vintage shows nicely here. The supple and easygoing nature of this mild vintage and the rich fruit from great vineyards are abundant, but the fine balance of Chardonnay fruit and natural acidity is what I like most about this wine.

The color is a typical, brilliant green-gold, but what demands immediate attention are the layers of aromas: green apples, a spice tone like cardamom, melon, some cellar-induced and earthy-vineyard characteristics, to name a few. There is much going on in the rich and complex nose of this wine. On the palate, there is a big initial impression of Chardonnay fruit with lots of melon and fresh pear. You'll find good length and rich texture, but the wine finishes with a clean, bright citrus note.

As this Chardonnay develops in the bottle, the creamy-caramel complexity from its time in the barrel well increase. It is one of the more forward vintages of the past several years and will show further development of richness with only 2-4 years of aging. We think the exceptional fruit of the 1990 vintage has evolved into a superbly balanced and elegant bottle of wine. The combination of Chardonnay essence from a droughty vintage and the overall softness of a good ripening season in this 1990 Napa Valley Chardonnay will allow for an unusually wide range of food and wine pairings.

Harvest Date September 9 to September 25
Sugar At Harvest 23.0° brix
Barrel Aging 6 months
Bottling Date August 1991
Release Date September 1992
Alcohol 13.0%