The 2017 vintage was intensely concentrated and focused at White Rock Vineyards. This Chardonnay is showing lively citrus notes, great depth and purity. This Chardonnay represents all the elegance and beauty of the 2017 vintage and the unique attributes of their 19th century winegrowing estate with ripe apples, nectarines dominate the nose, while fennel seed, praline and spice draw you into this medium-bodied, fresh Chardonnay.
In 1960 Henri Vandendriessche, whose family originated in Northern France, came to America to study Economics at UC Berkeley. In 1967 he met Claire, raised in Napa Valley. They fell in love and sought to learn what they could about American winemaking. In 1977 they purchased a 64 acre estate north of Napa with two goals in mind: reviving an 1870’s winery estate to its former glory and raising their family on the land that would reflect and encompass their values. Learning to be good stewards of the land, they relied on their common sense. They moved their young family into the converted old winery and made the farm their home. They replanted as much of the vineyard as they could, and dug a cave into the solid rock where they could make and cellar the wine. Always a family business, White Rock was in the capable hands of Henri who oversaw all aspects of the enterprise, including the vineyard management, while Claire marketed and sold the wines. Their three children lived along with the seasons, helping and participating at each stage. It was their small hands that carried the 5 gallon buckets of picked grapes to the gondola. The lively atmosphere of fulfillment and joy made every day and every helper a part of the family gathering.
One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960s, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.
The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980s, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. White wines from Napa Valley are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific wine characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those are the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth red wines with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Napa Valley wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.