This dessert wine is very special in that we are only able to make it when conditions allow, typically about once every five years. The wine gets its sweetness from a mold known as botrytis. Also known as “noble rot,” botrytis dehydrates the grape within the skin, concentrating the sugar, acid and flavors. The result is a naturally sweeter and very complex dessert wine.
This individual cluster selection comes from two of the oldest blocks of our Buchli Station Vineyard in Carneros. These blocks sit nearest San Pablo Bay, which provides moderate conditions so that the grapes do not ripen too quickly as well as the ideal amount of humidity for development of botrytis.
While 2015 brought the earliest harvest in our 35-year history, our late harvest Chardonnay, as the name implies, was the last fruit to be picked. Sustainable farming practices throughout the growing season were tailored to each block with the assistance of aerial photos produced using NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) technology. The fruit was hand-picked and sorted in the vineyard.
Joy has a unique barrel regime. With the belief that the fresher the toast of the barrel, the better the taste of the wine, the barrels were toasted the morning of the day that the wine was put to barrel. The wine is 100% barrel fermented. It has 11% residual sugar by weight.
Joy displays a golden-yellow color as a young wine that will deepen into a darker mahogany tone with age. The wine opens with enticing aromas of honey, ripe apricot and roasted nut that leap from the glass with high intensity. Those notes are echoed on the palate, along with luscious pineapple, crème brulee and vanilla. The texture is decadent yet soft, finishing with fresh acidity. This wine ages beautifully, and can be cellared and enjoyed for years to come.
Carneros, Napa Valley
Nov. 11, 2015
Average Brix at Harvest
6 months in 100% new American oak barrels
Our favorite Joy of Cooking recipes for this wine include: