Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars 2004 Chardonnay, Arcadia Vineyard (Napa Valley)

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars

2004 Chardonnay, Arcadia Vineyard
(Napa Valley)

This Chardonnay – one of the best I’ve tasted from California in a long while – is the reason why we all should come back to this recently beleaguered variety. It’s a classic Chardonnay, and should be the benchmark for how the grape in America could be from here on out.

Of course, not every Chardonnay vineyard is like the Arcadia Vineyard, located in the Coombsville area in the eastern hills above the city of Napa. Warren Winiarski bought the 128-acre parcel 10 years ago from Austin Hills (the Hills in Grgich and the heir to the Folger’s Coffee Co.). The first Stag’s Leap Arcadia Chardonnay was made in 1998. Six years later, the grapes have reached their full potential.

It’s in perfect balance with lots of minerality and some flintiness with flavors and aromas of Crenshaw melon. There’s only a hint of oak in the nose (that’s because 35 percent of the juice was fermented in stainless steel, and the rest was put into 2- 3- and 4-year-old French barrels, which means that no new wood was utilized.) There’s only a slight nuance of malolactic fermentation (only 15 percent ML was introduced). Perhaps best of all, the acidity (3.18 pH) stands out as the backbone, while amazingly (for California) the listed alcohol is only 12.8 percent!

What a great job from one of America’s greatest producers. Unfortunately, only 1,000 cases were produced.

Reviewed October 19, 2006 by Alan Goldfarb.

The Wine

Winery: Stag's Leap Wine Cellars
Vineyard: Arcadia Vineyard
Vintage: 2004
Wine: Chardonnay
Appellation: Napa Valley
Grape: Chardonnay
Price: 750ml $45.00

Review Date: 10/19/2006

The Reviewer

Alan Goldfarb

Alan Goldfarb has been writing about and reviewing wine for 17 years. His reviews have been published in the St. Helena Star, San Jose Mercury, San Francisco Examiner, Decanter, and Wine Enthusiast, among others. Not once has he used a point system, star system, or an iconic symbol to quantify a wine. What counts in Mr. Goldfarb’s criteria when judging a wine is: how it tastes in the glass; is it well-constructed; its food compatibility; and presence of redeeming regional attributes.