Grgich Hills Estate
2009 Napa Valley Chardonnay
Chardonnay • Estate Grown
California: Napa Valley
The King of White Burgundy
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.
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.
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.
Mixed citrus of Meyer lemon, sweet lime and lemon zest lead to dried apricot, dried pear, dried white flower petals of acacia and jasmine.
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.
What the Winery Says
Following the classic style that Miljenko “Mike” Grgich established when we began in 1977, we did not allow the Chardonnay to undergo malolactic fermentation, and our Biodynamic farming created a wine that is alive with delicious acidity. The wine’s crisp, yet rich, flavors of apple, honeydew melon and fig with a hint of baked brioche are perfect for fresh seafood, roasted chicken, grilled pork, or creamy cheeses.
For the third year in a row, Napa Valley received only two-thirds of its average rainfall in 2009, which reduced crop levels somewhat. Spring was essentially frost-free and a relatively cool summer with no drastic heat surges brought smooth, even grape development. Just before harvest a few days of heat insured perfect ripeness when we picked in the first days of September.
All of our vineyards are certified organic and Biodynamic®. This holistic farming practice uses the earth’s natural cycles and organic preparations to grow balanced, healthy vines without artificial fertilizers, pesticides, or fungicides. We grow our Chardonnay 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 fog allow the grapes to slowly ripen to develop complex flavors while maintaining a pleasing natural acidity that is impossible to achieve in warmer areas.
Varietals: 100% Chardonnay
Total acidity: 6.5 g/L
Sugar at harvest: 23.6 Brix
Fermentation: Indigenous yeast.
Oak: Fermented and aged 10 months in French oak: 60% neutral barrels, 60% Neutral, 40% new.
Harvest dates: Sept. 3 - Sept. 21, 2007
Bottling date: July, 2010
About the Winery
Miljenko “Mike” Grgich first gained international recognition at the celebrated “Paris Tasting” of 1976. Then, in a now-historic blind tasting, a panel of eminent French judges swirled, sniffed, and sipped an array of the fabled white Burgundies of France and a small sampling of upstart Chardonnays from the Napa Valley. When their scores were tallied, the French judges were shocked: they had chosen Mike’s 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay as the finest white wine in the world. Mon Dieu! The results stunned the international wine establishment and immediately earned Mike a reputation as one of the greatest winemakers in the world.
The Paris Tasting served notice to the world that the California wine industry was on the move, and it laid the groundwork for the creation of Grgich Hills Cellar. After his victory in Paris, Mike sat down with Austin Hills and his sister, Mary Lee Strebl, from the Hills Bros. Coffee family, and on Independence Day 1977, they gave birth to Grgich Hills. It was an ideal partnership. Austin owned premium vineyards in Rutherford, in the heart of the Napa Valley, and with his extensive background in business, he put the winery on its financial feet. Mike, with his fierce commitment to making wines of the highest quality, began producing what immediately became our signature wine: the exquisite, richly complex Chardonnays that win awards and delight wine lovers across America and throughout the world.
Today, we remain committed to making distinctive wines with quality, consistency and longevity. We are proud that world leaders such as Presidents Reagan and Clinton, Queen Elizabeth II and French President François Mitterrand chose our wines to serve at state dinners, but we are just as proud that every single day discriminating wine drinkers count on Grgich Hills to turn their own dinners into special occasions.