Wine & Spirits 94
When Mike Grgich made the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay — the white wine that won the Paris Tasting — he used fruit from the Bacigalupi Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. He soon moved into a partnership with Austin Hills, assembling an organically farmed estate that includes 88 acres in Carneros and 163 in American Canyon, the cool, southern districts of the Napa Valley where this chardonnay grows. Now, at 98, Grgich leaves winegrowing to his nephew, Ivo Jeramaz, who produced this complex and compelling wine. Put aside any preconceptions you might have about contemporary Napa Valley chardonnay; consider instead an agriculture that might include native corn (one taster cited the ethereal sweetness of nixtamalized corn) and stone-fruit orchards (a scent of apricots). There’s the smokiness of ancho chile and a scent of woodland mushrooms in the wine’s dark-toned leesiness. Then the layers of flavor last, harmonious and delicious.
James Suckling 91
Mangoes, papayas, cooked lemons, ripe melons, gun smoke and salted caramel on the nose. Full-bodied, ripe and rich yet bright. Smoky, toasty notes to close. From organically grown grapes.
Miljenko “Mike” Grgich has been called “The King of Chardonnay” since the winery began in 1977, and you can taste why in this classically-styled wine. We did not allow the Chardonnay to undergo malolactic fermentation, preserving its natural acidity.
This Chardonnay entices you with aromas of fresh peach, Asian pear, citrus, and honeycomb to delight your senses. The flavors are just as complex with delightful undertones of red pepper and Madagascar vanilla, followed by fresh lemon, green apple, wildflower honey, stone fruit, and a hint of lavender. The rich, dense texture is balanced by its juicy acidity, leading to great minerality and a long, satisfying finish.
Our Chardonnay thrives in our American Canyon and Carneros vineyards in the southern tip of Napa Valley, near San Pablo Bay which spills into the San Francisco Bay. The cool maritime breezes and morning fog allow the grapes to slowly ripen to develop complex flavors while maintaining a bright, natural acidity. We farm all of our certified organic vineyards naturally, using the principles of regenerative agriculture.
Napa Valley experienced an above-average rainfall in the early months of 2019 with over 50 inches of rain in Rutherford. The residual moisture and colder than average soils led to a delayed start in budbreak. Spring and summer enjoyed moderate temperatures with no significant heat spikes until August. The harvest began in early September and finished the first week of November.
Fermentation: indigenous yeast
Harvest date: Aug. 30 – Oct. 3, 2019
Sugar: 23.1 Brix average
Bottling date: June 2020
Release Date: November 2021
Total acid: 6.8 g/L
Blend: 100% Chardonnay
Grgich Hills EstateView all from Grgich Hills Estate
Grgich Hills Estate is an iconic Napa Valley winery, consistently producing wines of the highest quality. Vintners Hall of Fame inductee Miljenko "Mike" Grgich first earned world-wide recognition when the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay he crafted won the 1976 Paris Tasting, beating the best of France and revolutionizing the wine world. Mike then partnered with Austin Hills to open their family owned and operated winery in 1977.
Committed to natural winegrowing and sustainability, we farm five estate vineyards without artificial pesticides or herbicides, rely on wild yeast fermentation and use our passion and art to handcraft food-friendly, balanced and elegant wines.