The nose of the 2020 PlumpJack Chardonnay opens with a range of citrus notes – lemon, orange zest, pomelo, and key lime. Just behind these are the rich tropical notes of lychee and feijoa along with the sweeter, more delicate aromatics of white peach and honeysuckle. Underneath all of this is a hint of toasted hazelnuts and spice. The palate has similar flavors and a creamy texture reminiscent of lemon curd. The vibrant and bright acidity balances the creaminess and gives this wine life. This acidity, along with the beautiful structure, delivers an enduring finish.
PlumpJack Winery sits squarely in the heart of Napa Valley's renowned Oakville region, surrounded by a 42-acre estate vineyard highly-regarded for the quality of its Cabernet Sauvignon. Both their winery building and their vineyard date back to the 1800s, when winemaking pioneers first took advantage of a unique position on the valley floor. The east side of their vineyard lies along the foothills of the Vaca mountain range and yields grapes with the kind of bold fruit character that comes from well-drained hillside soils. To the west, their estate lies in the Napa River flood zone. Here, their vines take root in rich, deep clay soild, for grapes with softer, more supple varietal character. From their oldest, rockiest section - the "I" Block, where they source their Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve - to more recent plantings, they strive to maintain balanced vines.
One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960s, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.
The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980s, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. White wines from Napa Valley are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific wine characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those are the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth red wines with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Napa Valley wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.