Sterling Napa Valley wines show the depth, strength and expressive quality of California’s most famous wine region. Fruit for Sterling wines is grown throughout Napa Valley, from the cool southern Carneros region next to San Pablo Bay to the rugged northernmost benchlands and reaches near our Calistoga homeplace. Reserve wines allow Sterling winemaker Harry Hansen to select the finest lots to create the most memorable expressions of the varietal for each vintage.
An elegant expression of Chardonnay with power and grace, the most notable vintage in the past several years. Aromas and flavors led by a bright citrus character with classic Chardonnay tones of toasted brioche, ripe apple and pear and flan. In the mouth, creamy and filling, with notable acidity and minerality alongside oak spice, subtle caramel and vanilla bean with impressive length and a lingering, memorable finish. An elite Napa Chardonnay, rich and compelling.
Winter rains helped signal the end of the immediate drought, but vineyards had grown stressed after multiple challenging years, resulting in modest yields for the season. A dry January was followed by a wet February, and temperatures remained mild, encouraging an early bud break to begin the growing season. Showers arrived in April, slowing the rapid advance of flowering and set. Early by historical standards, after harvest began picks moved at a leisurely pace as winemakers waited for ever more complex flavors to develop. The extended season helped balance acids and allowed layers of flavors to emerge, with select vineyard blocks revealing themselves to be of reserve level.
Fruit is sourced largely from the Star Vineyard in Rutherford, where deep alluvial soils and consistently moderate warm daytime temperatures allow for the development of layers of concentrated, complex flavors led by lemon curd. The Rodgers Vineyard in the Oak Knoll district, along with a small bit of fruit from Oakville’s Gamble Ranch, provide a solid acid backbone and striking varietal tones."
Lots are picked and tracked separately from the vineyard through the winery. Fermented in barrel with 100% malolactic fermentation before aging for 17 months in French Oak, 65% new, with twice monthly hand stirring resulting in a rich, creamy texture.
Director of Winemaking Harry Hansen was raised in nearby Sonoma County. “One of my earliest memories of wine was the gallon jug of red wine that we always had at home. I would go with my father to a local winery, maybe in Kenwood or Healdsburg, to refill that jug and chit-chat with the winery proprietors. The aromas of those wines were always something attractive, somehow mysterious, but always memorable.”
Harry joined Sterling Vineyards and relocated to Napa Valley just before the 2011 Harvest. “The opportunity to join such a respected Napa Valley winery is exciting and a fantastic next step in my winemaking career. Sterling Vineyards is making some wonderful wines, and I look forward to taking that next step up in quality and reputation.”