White Rock Vineyards, Napa Valley Estate Chardonnay
White Rock Vineyards, Napa Valley Estate Chardonnay

White Rock Vineyards, Napa Valley Estate Chardonnay

California, United States 2018 (750mL)
Regular price$43.00

White Rock Vineyards, Napa Valley Estate Chardonnay

White Rock Vineyards is one of the oldest vineyard sites in Napa Valley, and as such it is rich in history and tradition. We’ll dive into that shortly, but for now let's focus on how wonderfully balanced and elegantly poised today’s Chardonnay discovery is. Napa is almost synonymous with Cabernet and Bordeaux-style blends these days, but they still grow a fair amount of Chardonnay here, and even though much of it is an afterthought for the tasting rooms, it behooves us all to remember that it was Montelena’s bottling of this ubiquitous grape that beat out all the top white Burgundies at the now-infamous “Judgement of Paris.” How they did that becomes abundantly clear when you encounter a bottle of pure, golden sunshine framed by subtle spices, lemon curd, and incredible minerality. This library release from White Rock is an historical snapshot of Napa Chardonnay, and as such it is a true revelation. Don’t miss this limited opportunity to taste old-school California magic!

The vineyards at White Rock Estate were originally planted by a Dr. Pettingill back in 1871, and were among the first in Napa Valley. The good doctor was a jack of all trades and bon vivant who constructed the original winery out of the white rock quarry that he hand-cut from the property (hence the name of the estate). In 1977, after the property had fallen into disrepair for some years, Henri and Claire Vandendriessche purchased the estate and began to laboriously nurse it back to health. Today, their sons, Christopher and Michael, tend to the vines and make the wine. 

The White Rock estate is essentially a small valley, about 300 feet above the Napa floor, nestled at the foot of the Stag’s Leap mountain range. When Henri and Claire began rejuvenating the vineyards, they were committed to “natural farming,” which means that these vines have never seen any herbicides, pesticides, or fumigants, and indeed the earth they are on has been unofficially organic for eons. In the winter, the team plants cover crops that they refer to as “green manure.” The steeper slopes of the property are planted to Cabernet and other Bordeaux varieties, while the Chardonnay grows on the floor, since this is actually the coolest spot of this mini valley. After hand-harvesting, the fruit is fermented with native yeasts and aged in French oak barrels, mostly used, before bottling and then additional aging in the specially designed cellar on the property.

2018 was a classic Napa vintage: warm, sunny, and dry. Growing in the cooler part of the White Rock vineyard, the Chardonnay was able to get perfectly ripe without losing its freshness and verve. Serve this lovely, golden-hued elixir in a large Burgundy stem, letting it come up to about 50 degrees to unlock its full aromatic potential. Up-front notes of yellow apple, lemon blossom, melon, and marzipan are accentuated by subtle hints of baking spice, hazelnut, and a touch of lime zest. The texture is classically rich, but the finish is lifted and bright, with an abundance of minerality thanks to the white, volcanic soil. It's a perfect pairing with the local Dungeness crab (when in season) or a lobster pasta, but it is also wonderful with the below Italian-inspired recipe for roast chicken and black truffles. Ready to take a dive into the glorious golden age of Napa? Then don’t wait to grab a few bottles of White Rock before it's gone!

White Rock Vineyards, Napa Valley Estate Chardonnay

Daily Discovery

Build a Case is a one-of-a-kind subscription service that allows you the freedom to explore our expansive wine selection and consolidate your orders into a custom case over time — without the cost of shipping.
View all