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August 26, 2016 Wine Pick of the Week

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Grgich Napa V Chard Picmonkey

 

2013 Chardonnay

 

Grgich Hills Estate

Napa Valley

Alcohol: 14.1%

Suggested Retail: $43

“You may have heard the name Mike Grgich lately. After all, it’s the 40th anniversary of the famed “Judgement of Paris,” in which red and white wines from California bested some of the finest wines in France in a Paris tasting hosted by English wine merchant Steve Spurrier (not the Heisman trophy-winning QB and, later, head coach at Duke, Florida and South Carolina).

“French white wines from Burgundy are made from Chardonnay grapes. In 1976 some of the best of them were presented in a “blind tasting” for French wine experts, along with some of the best Chardonnays from California. Picked as best wine of the lot was the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay. But soon after the Paris triumph their winemaker, Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, left to start his own winery in partnership with Austin Hills of the Hills Brothers coffee family. Chateau Montelena still makes fine Chardonnay. So does Grgich Hills Winery. Grgich, now 93 years old, is the winery patriarch though most of the day-to-day winemaking is now handled by his nephew, Ivo Jeramaz.

“It might seem paradoxical, but the Grgich style of Chardonnay is lean and yet still rich. Grgich Hills Chardonnay is grown in their certified organic vineyards in the cooler southern reaches of the Napa Valley. Unlike most California wines of this variety, Grgich Chardonnay does not undergo a malolactic fermentation, a process in which malic acid converts to lactic, resulting in softer wines that may be more appealing in their youth but not as long-lived.

“The 2013 Napa Valley Chardonnay from Grgich Hills is classic. We found aspects of apple, stone fruit and lemon curd, set off by some minerality in the background. Lovely balance all the way through its long finish. Good acidity makes it a versatile food pairer.”

Food Affinity: “Would enhance most dishes you think would go well with a white wine. However, with a Chardonnay this good you might want to serve something special. Almost any preparation of lobster or Dungeness crab couldn’t miss. Extra-large grilled prawns from the Gulf of Mexico would be worthy, as would veal with morels.”

 

Editor’s Note: Wines reviewed in Taste California Travel are encountered by our staff in several ways. They can be discovered at trade tastings or visits to wineries. They may also be purchased by staff members for their own tables or be those sent by wineries for possible review. This is an editorial feature, not advertising, and appearance cannot be secured by payment. More information can be had by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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