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Noble Vines 446 Chardonnay 2012

california chardonnay nobles wines wine


Throughout centuries of cultivation, winegrowers have paid close attention to their vines, watching for beneficial changes as the plants adapted to their site and growing conditions. They selected those with exceptional attributes and propagated them by cuttings from the original vine into the vine types we call “clones”: genetically identical vines that are prized for specific characteristics. Bud break, berry colour, disease resistance, soil or climate suitability, cluster size, yield, flavours, aromas and how the grapes ripen are just some of the many traits that can be managed through careful clonal selection and cultivation.

Clones perform at their best when they are put to work in the type of soil and climate from where they originated. Chardonnay favours cool conditions, and Monterey’s coastal climate—with afternoon breezes, evening fog and a long growing season—is perfect for growing excellent Chardonnay grapes. Clone 4 does especially well in Block 46 of our San Bernabe Vineyard, which is in one of the coolest growing regions in California.

Clone 4, known as the Martini clone, was cultivated by Napa Valley winemaker Louis Martini in the cool climate vineyards of Carneros. Its distinctively tropical fruit profile features pineapple and mango aromas and flavours with a creamy mouthfeel.

Winemaker James Ewart says one of the best ways to preserve Clone 4’s balance of acidity and luscious tropical fruit is to get it to the winery quickly, the advantage of Block 46. “This is a single vineyard wine, and the winery is right here,” he explains. “I can pick on the riper side, knowing I’ll be able to bring it in to the winery quickly while it’s still cool.” Once the grapes arrive, they are gently pressed and Ewart transfers the juice into stainless steel or oak barrels, depending on each lot’s acidity level. After fermentation, half of the lots undergo malolactic fermentation with bi-monthly stirring of the yeast lees for added body and complexity.

446 Chardonnay exhibits appealing aromas of golden delicious apple, ripe apricot, pineapple and melon. Medium-bodied with a creamy mid-palate, this delightful wine offers flavours of peach and hints of toasty vanilla spice. Enjoy it on its own, or with soft cheeses, roast fowl and baked yams.

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