Julien Fayard’s Nicholson Jones Dolly Hill Chardonnay from Parker’s “vintage of a lifetime” has the luscious texture of Napa Carneros Chardonnay, balanced by the freshness of a terrific Fumé Blanc. “The French say ‘aerien,’” Fayard told Wine Access, which translates to “elevated and pure.” That’s this wine in a nutshell.
“I picked at about 23 Brix, but what I’m looking for is deep golden color on the berries, which reflects the accumulation of sun on the skin and gives you a sense of ripeness, and that’s a good indicator of sweetness,” Fayard said. “If the berries are inching into a golden-grey, they’ve hung on the vine too long. These vines are 20-30 years old, mostly with Wente and Wente-clone variations, planted on 3309 rootstock, and I’ve really gotten to know their sweet spot.”
The result of his meticulous skill is a beautiful Grand Cru Chablis-inspired Chardonnay made with native yeast, and fermented and aged in stainless steel — without oak or malolactic conversion. In the blockbuster vintage of 2013, the grapes ripened perfectly in Truchard’s relatively warm spot in Carneros, and are bursting with vibrant acidity.
Julien Fayard’s resume is heavy with accolades for his mouthwatering 98-100-point red wines off Beckstoffer To Kalon (the final results are not in yet, but he’s one point away from perfection), and all his expert touch — and restraint — is on full display in this exquisite Old World-inspired white.