From his perch atop Spring Mountain, Stony Hill winemaker Mike Chelini has spent an astonishing 40+ years turning out the most brilliant, chiseled mountain Chardonnays Napa Valley has ever seen. This 2014 Stony Hill Chardonnay is a sublime effort of bright, lemon-peel intensity, with a righteous mineral-driven and juicy acid backbone. Culled from a perfect growing season and one of the Valley’s all-time best vintages, it may be Chelini’s greatest Chardonnay of all-time. But unless you’re on Stony Hill’s mailing list, you won’t find it anywhere. Currently, only the 2012s and a trickling of 2013s are available outside the winery. But after a visit last week, I secured the only allocation of this mesmerizing 2014 offered outside the mailing list. Ahead of Michelin-star restaurants, and everyone else, take my advice and lock into one of our 35-cases before word gets out. Coming direct from the cellars atop Spring Mountain at $47.99 per bottle. Secure your exclusive share now.
Stony Hill’s Chardonnays are truly special — the kind of white wine Michelin 3-Star sommeliers love to brag that they have on their list. Michelin 3-Starred The Restaurant at Meadowood holds seven vintages dating back to 1984, while The French Laundry carries a 1994 for $295 per bottle.
In 2014, Chelini produced what may turn out to be the richest, most concentrated, greatest Stony Hill Chardonnay in the winery’s 66-year history. Three years of drought conditions in Napa Valley, coupled with Stony Hills 20-30-year old dry-farmed vines, situated on the steep northeast slope of Spring Mountain, over 700 feet above the valley floor, combined to yield a masterful creation that clocks in at a modest 13% alcohol.
In her book, “Napa Valley Then and Now,” PRESS sommelier Kelli White writes that, “It is not uncommon for a Stony Hill Chardonnay to outlast a Cabernet Sauvignon from one of their more modern neighbors." I have no doubt that this will be true of this 2014 vintage.
Stony Hill’s vines dig deep into the rocky, volcanic soils of Spring Mountain, snaking through limestone deposits, which gives 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 yields an apple-lemon intensity and purity in the finished wine. In the cellar, these Chardonnays gather a honey-infused richness, adding weight and layers of depth over decades.
Whether the soil, the elevation, the original 1948 grafted Wente clone Chardonnay vines, or if it’s just Chelini’s magic touch — this is about about as close as California gets to white Burgundy. Robert Parker called Napa’s 2014 vintage “another superlative year” and declared “I would have to rate 2014 ahead of 2013,” when it comes to Napa Chardonnay.
This is your exclusive chance to lock into bottles of the stand-out, benchmark Chardonnay of the vintage, delivering elegance, purity and finesse in its youth, with astonishing complexity and layers of flavors, which will gather brilliance over time.
Editor-in-Chief, Wine Access
Cristaldi has worked in the wine industry for nearly a decade as a professional writer, critic, and educator. His published work has appeared in national print and online outlets including Food & Wine, Los Angeles Magazine, SOMM Journal, and many others.
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