2012 Maldonado Chardonnay ‘Los Olivos Vineyard’

3a48c888ecc23a097cebefe1bf1ac855Forty-four years ago, Lupe Maldonado moved to California from Atacheo, a small farming community in Michoacan, MexicoLupe spent many years working in vineyards throughout Napa Valley. He settled down in the small town of St Helena.

In 1971 Lupe was working for Sterling Vineyards when Peter Newton offered Lupe the opportunity to join him in the creation of a new winery in the Spring Mountain District of St. Helena. Lupe’s dedication and hard work were beginning to pay off; he was named vineyard manager for Newton Vineyard. With NewtonLupe found a home where he proudly dedicated all his energy for over thirty years. His son Hugosucceeded him in 1999. 

Lupe began devoting his three decades of viticulture wisdom to his own grapes. He bought a 10-acre piece of land in the coolest southern reaches of Napa Valley, in Jamieson Canyon, which he developed into his own vineyards. Lupe lives in the midst of the vines that he planted and tends. Lupe and his son Hugo, a graduate in Viticulture and Enology from the University of California in Davis, and their families are partners in the project. They farm the vineyard together, and oversee the whole winemaking project, as well as operating a small vineyard management company. 




The vineyard is a 10-acre rectangle, planted in the dark, gravelly clay characteristic of Carneros and surrounding areas whose soil originated in the ancient reaches of the San Pablo Bay. The planting is dense, with the cordons close to the soil for warmth; a high canopy to catch as much of the sun as possible in this cool, misty canyon. The vineyard has a tiny half-acre secret garden across the creek that marks the southern border for the vineyard. The vines here are planted in meter by meter spacing; they are so stressed by their density that each vine produces only a few clusters, each nearly painfully intense in flavor.


winemaking_sorting_434xThe grapes are pressed and their juice sent to barrel for 100% barrel fermentation. Yeasts indigenous to the vineyard and winery perform the fermentation; nothing is added to the grapes or juice prior to or during fermentation. The wine is fermented and aged in all French oak. The idea is to open and disturb the barrels as little as possible, and to leave the environment inside the barrel integral and self-regulating. This regime exposes the wine to small amounts of oxygen when it is at its youngest and most vigorous stage; this is a kind of inoculation against later oxidation. 

The wine is strong and will age slowly and well. The long, undisturbed period in barrel allows a graceful and extended contact with the lees and allows anything clouding the wine to settle out so thoroughly that filtration becomes unnecessary.


2012 Maldonado ‘Los Olivos’ Chardonnay, Napa Valley

M6021Wine Spectrum 94+: The 2012 vintage is expressive and multi-dimensional with aromas of vibrant citrus, cardamom, banana, pineapple, and delicate floral notes. A bright fleshy entrance with complex layers of ripe green fig, lemon curd, citrus peel, vanilla, and barrel spice. 

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