Mount Eden Estate Chardonnay 1999
Release Date: Spring 2002
Coming on the heels of the extreme 1998 growing season, this year '99 was off to another bizarre start. Freak snowstorms hit twice in March and twice again in April. Global warming was not on our minds as spring finally arrived in late May.
Because of this late beginning everything was late. Not a grape was harvested in September: no Pinot, no Chardonnay, nothing. In my twenty-one years orchestrating the harvest here, this was a first. For a full four weeks we patiently waited, testing the grapes in the lab and imagining greatness in the bottle.
In this business, patience has its rewards. The vines, with the full extent of the warming sun, took their time to ripen the grapes. So what if we picked a month late, the berries were perfect.
Totally barrel fermented and aged on the yeast until bottling in the summer of 2000, this wine's breed and finesse epitomize this vintage. The complexity, typical of the estate, is beginning to shine yet this is still in a youthful stage. Yeasty bread dough, sage and mineral aromas are added to the base of honeysuckle and lemon. The impression on the palate is quiet at first and expansive at the end. Classic wine in a nutshell.
Other late ripening years, i.e. 1976, 1978, 1983, 1991 have all aged at a snails pace. There is something about the warming sun and the autumnal equinox that gives these vintages full expression of this mountain terroir. Give it another few years in the bottle and drink with pleasure over the following decade.
Yield: 2.1 Tons per Acre Harvest: October 1 –24th Numbers @ Harvest: 23.5° Brix, 6.9 grams acidity, 3.4 pH Barrel Regimen: French Burgundy- Sirugue, Francois 80% new Bottling: July 2000 no fining or filtration
94 points Editor’s Choice Wine Enthusiast Magazine - February 2003
Incredible wine…Dark gold color. Huge, luscious flavors, oozing with tropical fruits, smoky honey, oriental spices, buttered toast, tangerine, vanilla and crème fraîche.
91 points Wine Spectator - May 2003
Rich and intense, a flinty style with complex fig, apricot, anise and buttery notes, picking up citrus and honey notes on a long lingering, minerally aftertaste. Needs time; has a good track record for improving with age.
89 points Robert Parker Jr’s The Wine Advocate - June 2002
Issue # 141
The tightly-knit 1999 Chardonnay Estate reveals high acidity, subtle honeysuckle, mineral, and butter notes, and notions of oak in the background. It is built like a Grand Cru white Burgundy and is capable of lasting 8-10 years. Although lighter than past examples, it offers a distinctive character as well as unusual longevity, particularly for a California Chardonnay.