Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Operative favorite, Grgich Hills Estate and secure the newest vintage of their famous Napa Valley Chardonnay.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Grgich Hills Estate
Wine Subject: 2009 Napa Valley Chardonnay
Winemaker: Miljenko “Mike” Grgich
Backgrounder: Chardonnay is arguably the greatest of all white grape varietals, showing its influence in the legendary sparkling wines of Champagne, the great whites of Burgundy and of course its expression as’the’ white wine of California. Chardonnay represents over 50% of the planted white grapes in California with nearly 100,000 acres planted. With such a great number of wines made from this grape, it stands to reason that finding wines of immense quality would be hard, but look no further. In this wine, we have found perhaps the ideal expression of the California Chardonnay.
Look – Soft golden yellow with even coloration from core to glinting golden edge. After swirling, tall, skinny legs start high up on the glass before moving slowly downward.
Smell – Citrus, dried pear and cut pineapple are the primary notes when the wine is well-chilled. As it warms, it gains more complexity, revealing a unique yellow angel food cake with toasty vanilla and lemon zest. Swirl the wine for a while longer, and still more aromas emerge, including soft baking spice, toasty oak and a hint of fresh fennel.
Feel – Soft and light on the initial attack. Then, the wine gains some weight at the mid-palate, where a bright crispness introduces a soft, grippy dryness that spreads from the outer edges of the palate, inward.
Taste – Mixed citrus of Meyer lemon, sweet lime and lemon zest lead to dried apricot, dried pear, dried white flower petals of acacia and jasmine.
Finish – Long and bright with a sustained crispness that carries the citrus flavors to the far corners of the palate. As sweet citrus fades, white flowers and a slate minerality appears and a soft dryness spreads to the corners of the mouth.
Conclusion – We’ve had the great fortune to feature the last few successive vintages of this fantastic wine. Today’s 2009 Grgich Hills Estate Napa Valley Chardonnay is a softer, more elegant vintage than prior vintages, making it exceptionally easy to drink. Our tasting panel found itself spending a long time with this wine, discussing it and witnessing its evolution, allowing it to transform and open up as it warmed. Pair this beautiful wine with a mustard rubbed pork tenderloin with fresh baby spinach salad with mandarin slices and fresh red onion.
The location of the Grgich Hills Estate can be seen in this satellite photo.