“Amalia Palmaz was the inspiration and instigator of our Chardonnay. Although Julio always wanted a singular focus on exceptional Cabernet, Amalia convinced him that not every meal needs to be paired with such powerful wine; once in a while, she said, “a little white can be delightful.” He acquiesced, dedicating one tunnel in the Cave to Chardonnay fermentation.”
The Palmazes bought a forgotten stone winery with acres of land that had once produced fine Napa wines. The little valley had been the site of Cedar Knoll Vineyard and Winery, founded in 1881 by Henry Hagen, one of Napa Valley’s pioneer winemakers.
The vineyards grow within more than fourteen unique terroirs at three elevations — 400, 1200, and 1400 feet above sea level and are nurtured under the respectful tenets of sustainable agriculture. They thrive on the slopes of Mount George at the southern end of the Vaca Range. The foundation for it all is base rock laid down during the Pliocene volcanic age. Vineyard geography ranges from steep slopes with shallow nutrient-poor soils, which produce concentrated grapes, to stony colluvial deposits made up of cobbles, gravel, and sandy loam. Variations of soil type, sun exposure, and elevation produce a robust range of flavors and concentration to create a wine with balance and complexity.
The winery’s 24 fermentation tanks accommodate the yields of individual blocks within the estate, vinifying each parcel’s grapes separately to preserve the unique characteristics intrinsic to the parcels. This provides a complete and pure palette for the winemaker’s art — tasting, appreciating, and blending individual lots to bring balance to the wine.
Getting ready to dive your nose into the glass, wisps of hibiscus and honeysuckle fill the air. As the glass nears for the first sip, scents of toasted French bread and candied orange rind meet your nose. Meyer lemon, vanilla, and grilled papaya fill your palate as the wine develops a long pleasing finish.
This offering is 100% barrel fermented being aged sur lie for 7 months in 75% new French oak. This vintage was bottled in May 2018 with 1,507 cases produced.