1992 Napa Valley Chardonnay

The 1992 vintage is probably as close to the fabled “normal” vintage as we are ever likely to see. In reality, there is no such thing. We got the weather breaks we prayed for, and that’s not normal.

For the last several vintages, we have been moving our Chardonnay back to our philosophy that the wine should show-most of all-the "vineyard and the vintage." While each wine is always a little different from the effects of the vintage, the special flavors of excellent vineyards set the style of Montelena Chardonnay. Our cellar techniques simply highlight these characteristics, not mask them.

vintage weather

Temperate Consistent. Low rainfall, with classic warm days and cool nights throughout the season. Harvest started a little earlier then normal. Cooling trend after Labor Day allowed for more hang time and strong flavor development

tasting notes

This wine was a slow maturing vintage from day one. Normally, our Chardonnay is bottled after eleven months in the cellar, only six of which are in oak barrels. This wine's maturation curve was so very slow, we let it age in barrels until December, five months longer than is typical. This extra cellar time rounded out the wine nicely.

In the glass it has a bright green-gold color. It has ripe, perfumey fruit, very pleasant, with hints of white peach and quite pronounced pear fruit aromas. The varietal fruit dominates the bouquet, but layered cellar complexities…a kiss of oak and yeast that are now background tones…will evolve with further bottle age.

On the palate it has a fresh feel, initially green apple, especially for the first six months after release. The later flavors are typical young Montelena Chardonnay, round, tight, and crisp with the fatter flavors from the yeast and oak still in the background, becoming more apparent on down the line. It has begun to develop the richness we look for in our long aging style of Chardonnay, and will gain richness for three to five more years.

As of this writing, I think it may be the longest aging Chardonnay we have made since the 1979 vintage, but we'll have to take a look again after a couple of years.

Harvest Date August 24 to September 9
Barrel Aging 11 months
Bottling Date December 1993
Release Date September 1994
Cases Produced 12,000
Alcohol 13.5%