Vintage 2016
Wine Type White
Varietal Chardonnay
Region Carneros
Winemaker Jon Priest

A true reflection of the winery’s Grace Benoist Ranch estate vineyard, this wine is a blend of the best blocks on the Ranch, tucked away in the far northwest corner of the Carneros appellation. Unlike most Carneros vineyards, which are largely uplifted bay bottoms with soils composed of clay, the soils on Grace Benoist Ranch are variations of volcanic origin. Combining these well-drained, rocky upland soils with the extreme western location closer to San Pablo Bay, make this cooler site an ideal place to grow Burgundian varieties.

Source: Etude Estate Vineyards at Grace Benoist Ranch, Carneros, Napa Valley
Certified Sustainable: Napa Green
Varietal Composition: 100% Chardonnay
Vinification: Aged 11 months in neutral French oak barrels
ABV: 13.6%
Production: 490 cases

91 Points - Vinous

“The 2016 Chardonnay Grace Benoist Ranch Estate Grown is another classy, polished wine from Etude. Bright citrus and lightly tropical notes add nuance to this barrel-aged Chardonnay. Blocking the malolactic fermentation keeps the flavors tight and nicely focused.” - Antonio Galloni, December 2018

90 Points - Wine Advocate

“The 2016 Chardonnay Grace Benoist Ranch is composed of 100% Chardonnay aged in neutral French oak for 11 months. It has a toasty nose of fresh bread and roasted almonds over a core of apple pie and warm apricots plus a waft of ginger. Medium-bodied, the palate has a silken texture and plenty of pure, unadulterated fruit, finishing savory.” - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, October 2018

Tasting Notes

From six special acres in the heart of the Grace Benoist Ranch, our estate Chardonnay is iconic, representing all that is memorable about Carneros. Vibrant yet elegantly restrained, the wine is crafted as a showcase for the fruit, without malolactic fermentation and the lightest touch of oak. Aromas and flavors of Bartlett pear, Meyer lemon and a beautiful minerality are accompanied by lemon zest, citrus blossom and Granny Smith apple. The fruit is gracefully balanced by the acidity, making this wine be a very versatile companion to food.  The notable concentration of fruit comes from the low yielding selections and a subtle sur lie note adds nuance and depth.  A solid backbone of acidity, with great structure and balance, are the signature of this wine each vintage.

Vineyard Notes

Vineyard blocks are individually managed to conform to various soil types and the changing contours of the topography. Individual vineyards within Grace Benoist Ranch average only eight acres in size and spacing is dense to ensure low per vine yields of fully concentrated fruit. As stewards of the property, Etude remains steadfast in our commitment to adhere to sustainable agricultural practices that enable us to farm in concert with the surrounding environment. Wildlife corridors, raptor roosts and owl boxes are abundant throughout the Ranch.

Vintage Notes

The extended drought was beginning to cause real concern as the 2016 growing season kicked off, but some welcomed winter rain hinted at the relief to come.  After a relatively dry January we enjoyed significant rainfall in February, along with mild temperatures.  Bud break was early, but was slowed by heavy April showers.  While still early by historical standards, picking began about a week later than 2015, and continued at a leisurely pace, allowing the grapes to reach full flavor maturity.  A traditionally sized harvest followed the lighter showing of 2015, and the extended season helped to balance the acids and add complexity to the layers of flavors.

Winemaking Notes

The fruit for our Carneros Estate Chardonnay was harvested at night and gently whole-cluster pressed before being transferred to neutral French oak barrels for fermentation.  The wine was bottled after 11 months of maturation, with a weekly stirring of the yeast lees for the initial two months of aging to enhance aromatics and increase mid-palate texture.  Our Chardonnay is crafted to showcase the unique terroir of Grace Benoist Ranch and did not go through malolactic fermentation in order to capture the natural acidity and beauty of cool-climate Carneros Chardonnay.