A Tale of Two Vineyards
Two New Chardonnays From B Cellars
The unique combination of soils and climate in a vineyard, known as terroir, create a one-of-a-kind combination of flavors and aromas in the grapes—and therefore in the wines we craft from those grapes. This is why we work with growers and vineyards from up and down the Napa Valley and into Sonoma. Great terroir yields great wine.
With Chardonnay, however, there is another important twist: the provenance of the grapevines. Different types of Chardonnay vines will produce wildly different flavors in the finished wines.
This is our first vintage producing Chardonnay from the revered “Richard Dinner Vineyard,” long known for producing classic wines. Last year, a select few were able to purchase our inaugural vintage of “Calesa Vineyard” Chardonnay. Be sure not to miss this exotic and aromatic Chardonnay this year.
Calesa Vineyard is located in the rolling hills between Sonoma and Petaluma in the Petaluma Gap, California’s newest AVA and a region steeped in history. The vineyard name pays homage to that history when the property served as a resting stop for horse-drawn calesas, Spanish for buggy or stagecoach.
This vineyard is planted to one of the rare “Musque” clones in shallow, rocky soils on steep hillsides. Genetic mutations created Chardonnays with a much headier aroma than the typical Chardonnay, and these have been preserved and propagated throughout the wine growing world, however, there are only a relative few acres planted to Musque clone Chardonnay in the Napa and Sonoma regions. Calesa’s vines thrive in the coastal wind and cooler temperatures. Dramatic temperature shifts allow enough mid-day warmth to ripen the fruit before chilly afternoon wind and fog flow through the “wind gap” that is the hallmark of this AVA.
This wine is bold and aromatic, full of preserved nectarine and peach aromas. It has a rich, viscous mouthfeel which is balanced by a brisk acidity.
Richard Dinner Vineyard
Richard Dinner Vineyard is a revered and highly sought-after source of Chardonnay grapes and we are honored to partner with this world-class grower. The vineyard is located on the cool, secluded hillside of Sonoma Mountain, slightly northeast of the town of Sonoma. Old, established, and deep-rooted vines are grown on the northern face in well-drained and ancient loamy soils, leaving the vines open to the maritime influence moving through the gaps in the coastal hills.
Our very first vintage of Richard Dinner Vineyard Chardonnay was harvested in 2019 and consists of an heirloom selection of Chardonnay, known as “Old Wente.” The Wente family obtained vine cuttings from Corton Charlemange in Burgundy, the historical and spiritual home of Chardonnay. They then propagated these cuttings for other growers across the Napa and Sonoma regions.
This heirloom selection of Chardonnay is famed for its pattern of small and large berries within each bunch, known colloquially as “chicks and hens,” and it yields a classical, concentrated flavor, a bold, mouth-filling structure, and a lengthy, mineral finish.
In the Kitchen…
By the second week of March, Napa begins to look and feel like spring is here. Yet, the nights and mornings can get pretty cool, and that can keep us thinking of warming up in the kitchen. Nothing beats a roast chicken for making the kitchen cozy and for pairing with Chardonnay. Chef Derick doesn’t like to rest on classics only, though. He suggests spicing this pairing up with this playful recipe for homemade potato chips with French onion dip. It’s a perennial staff favorite!
Truffle Potato Chips with French Onion Dip
Chef Derick Kuntz created this recipe specifically for B Cellars Chardonnays and it has become a favorite among the B Cellars staff. The rich, savory chips and dip exposes layers of complex flavors in the Chardonnay while the zip of acidity in the wine contrasts perfectly with the food.
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