Stony Hill Chardonnay Will Outlive Most Napa Cabernet
Clear room in your cellar for one of the most spectacularly age-worthy and legendary Chardonnays in all of California. Pulling down 93 points from Decanter — which named the 2012 Stony Hill release among the top 10 most exciting California Chardonnays of the year — this “Pure and Chablis-like” effort with “crackling acidity and minerality” lives up to the winery’s outsized reputation and more. “It is not uncommon for for a Stony Hill Chardonnay to outlast a Cabernet Sauvignon from one of their more modern neighbors," writes Sommelier Kelli White of PRESS in her book “Napa Valley Then and Now.” Blue-chip restaurants such as French Laundry and Meadowood snap up vintages of Stony Hill Chardonnay by the case, prized for their ability to gather fabulous, honey-infused richness and weight over decades. A rare chance to skip the infamously long waiting list, lay into as much of this brilliant 2012 as you can and prepare for the fireworks. 25 cases up for grabs.
According to critic James Halliday, the painstaking efforts of Stony Hill’s Mike Chelini, the longest tenured winemaker in Napa Valley, result in “tiny quantities of infinitely slow-maturing chardonnay, which over the ensuing decades has gained for itself the reputation as one of California's greatest.” Some have called Stony Hill’s 30-acre vineyard — situated on the steep northwest slope of Spring Mountain, over 700 feet above the valley floor — the greatest source for mountain Chardonnay in California. Around 65 years of dry-farming have forced the 20-30 year-old vines to push deep into rocky, volcanic soil, undergirded by limestone, lending the wine its remarkable mineral vibrancy. Chilly nights preserve the grapes’ racy acidity while the morning fog, in combination with mild afternoon temperatures, create a unique microclimate that infuses fruit with apple-lemon intensity and purity.
This is about about as close to White Burgundy as California gets. In Napa’s extraordinary 2012 vintage, noted for producing phenomenally rich, luscious Chardonnay, Stony Hill owners Peter and Willinda McCrea and Chelini minted yet another classic. Drink now if you must, but with another 20-30+ years of aging, this chiseled bombshell promises to become one of the treasures of your collection.