Stony Hill Chardonnays are some of the most respected and highly-sought-after California wines in existence. Their style is best described as lean, bright, elegant and food friendly.
To achieve this style, they crush and press the grapes with minimum skin contact and ferment in neutral oak cooperage. When fermentation is complete, w]they rack the wine off the lees, in order to avoid the development of a yeasty flavor in the wine. They then age it in the neutral oak barrels, most of which are well over ten years old, allowing the wine to develop and mature without absorbing an oak flavor component that could mask the natural fruit. In addition, they avoid a secondary (malolactic) fermentation in order to maintain the original acid structure of the wine and protect the fruit’s inherent citrus and apple components.
Fred and Eleanor took the original Chardonnay cuttings from the Wente vineyard in Livermore in 1948.They did only one major Chardonnay replanting, in 1986, making the average age of their current vineyards approximately 30 years old.
The 2013 Chardonnay crop didn’t equal the big 2012 vintage in size, but the quality of the grapes thrilled the team at Stony Hill. As always, the wine is pale straw in color and offers a big bouquet of green apples and a graceful hint of citrus. On the palate, you can detect the same fruit flavors of citrus and green apple with the added touch of earthiness, a chalky minerality from the site's stony soils, which Stony Hill calls a wet stone quality. The mouthfeel is also great, a combination of crisp acidity which gives it bounce and a slightly forward richness for balance. All the evidence points to a long life ahead for this wine.
92 points Wine Enthusiast
Outer quote mark Light, lithe and elusive, this wine begs for time in the glass to develop, and it changes as it goes, maintaining a persistence of exotic Asian spice and citrus, stony minerality and a dash of lemon peel. Green apple also shines through, the texture of the wine crisp yet complex. Drink now through 2023. *Cellar Selection* (VB) Inner quote mark (10/2016)