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Chardonnay ‘Shale and Stone’

Chardonnay is a grape that is too often confined to one of two narratives, especially in Napa: either the wine is an oak- and butter-laced fruit bomb, or it is a lifeless, neutral white that leaves one clueless as to why there is so much hype around the variety. We seek a third path, where the wine balances bright acidity and high-toned minerality with the rich fruit and generous structure that come naturally to our terroir in Napa.  

Achieving that balance requires careful attention to the details of the site, as well as a touch of restraint. Since our first vintage in 1985, we have sourced our fruit from the same hillside of decomposed shale and sandstone in the cool Carneros district, meticulously maintained by the Truchard Family. We make up to ten small picks over the course of a month as different sections of the vineyard ripen. Each successive pick is fermented for a handful of days in new French oak barrels before being racked at the peak of its fermentation into concrete tanks, where it sits on its lees, untouched, for the next eleven months. The time in oak allows Chardonnay the room to broaden its aromatic range to match the variety’s promise, while the long cooling-off period sur lie gives the wine depth and incredible freshness. The end result is a Chardonnay that challenges preconceptions of what a Napa Chardonnay can do.