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Napa Valley Chardonnay


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Author: Ben Bicais

Chardonnay has emerged as the premier white wine in California. Originating from Burgundy, France, the Chardonnay grape has enabled vintners from the Golden State to produce opulent white wines with crisp, bold flavors. A well made Chardonnay can be enjoyed in a wide array of situations; from celebrations to a quiet night in front of the fire.

Although the best known Napa wine is Cabernet Sauvignon, the Chardonnay is nipping at its heels. White wine has long been thought of as the boring counterpart of the strong, awe-inspiring red, but premium Chardonnay producers have put this stereotype to sleep.

Thankfully, the preferences of the individual wine consumer have progressed to encompass a larger range of styles and flavors. This change can be attributed to the progression of winemaking and innovative farming techniques. The use of malolactic fermentation has enabled vintners to give their wines buttery, creamy flavors.

The importance of the winemaker cannot be understated, but great wines are made in the vineyard. Because of the complexity of viticulture, there are an enormous number of variables that influence the vine, and consequently the grape. When these conditions are right, grapes can be grown with unmatched flavor.

Understanding which regions are best suited to produce the different varietals is the first step in choosing a great wine. In general, the best Chardonnay wines are produced from regions with long moderate days and cool nights. They prefer rich alluvial soils and access to a consistent water source.

Just as Oakville and Rutherford are synonymous with premium quality Cabernet Sauvignon, Carneros is unmatched in the Napa Valley as far as Chardonnay production goes. Carneros is the southernmost AVA of the Napa Valley. Its day time temperature is moderated by fog from the nearby San Pablo Bay. Additionally, because Carneros is not protected by the Mayacamas mountain range, their vineyards are heavily affected by the winds that sweep through the valley.

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Ben Bicais:
Founder of "". He grew up in the Napa Valley and has developed an interest in wine and food over the years. He hope you find my articles useful and would love to hear any feedback that you may have.



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