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Mount Eden Vineyards Estate Bottled Chardonnay 1999

Mount Eden Vineyards:
The genesis of Mount Eden Vineyards was the arrival of Burgundian winemaker Paul Masson to San Jose, California, in 1878. Masson soon established a vineyard and winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains near Mount Eden, where he became a well know bon vivant. Martin Ray, who grew up in the foothills below Mount Eden, became acquainted with the charismatic Frenchman and, shortly after Prohibition... Read more
The genesis of Mount Eden Vineyards was the arrival of Burgundian winemaker Paul Masson to San Jose, California, in 1878. Masson soon established a vineyard and winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains near Mount Eden, where he became a well know bon vivant. Martin Ray, who grew up in the foothills below Mount Eden, became acquainted with the charismatic Frenchman and, shortly after Prohibition's repeal, purchased Paul Masson's Champagne Company. Notoriety came quickly. At a time when most California wines were blended from various, often inferior, grape varieties, noble grapes like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir were virtually unknown. The mercurial Ray began producing 100% varietal table wines, boasting that California could vinify world class wines to rival those of France. In the 1930s, it seemed a ridiculous, foolhardy claim. Wanting to establish his own brand, Ray sold the Paul Masson property in 1943 and, that following year purchased a higher peak to the north, Mount Eden. In 1945 he planted his first vineyard there. The varieties were Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (Cabernet Sauvignon was added in the 1950's), and the mountain became his home. Ray named his wine domain simply "Martin Ray." Read less

Tasting Notes:

Tasting notes at release (spring 2002): Coming on the heels of the extreme 1998 growing season, this year '99 was off to another bizarre start. Freak snowstorms hit twice in March and twice again in April. Global warming was not on our minds as spring finally arrived in late May. Because of this late beginning everything was late. Not a grape was harvested in September: no Pinot, no Chardonnay, nothing. In my twenty-one years orchestrating the harvest here, this was a first. For a full four weeks we patiently waited, testing the grapes in the lab and imagining greatness in the bottle. In this business, patience has its rewards. The vines, with the full extent of the warming sun, took their time to ripen the grapes. So what if we picked a month late, the berries were perfect. Totally barrel fermented and aged on the yeast until bottling in the summer of 2000, this wine's breed and finesse epitomize this vintage. The complexity, typical of the estate, is beginning to shine yet this is still in a youthful stage. Yeasty bread dough, sage and mineral aromas are added to the base of honeysuckle and lemon. The impression on the palate is quiet at first and expansive at the end. Classic wine in a nutshell. Other late ripening years, i.e. 1976, 1978, 1983, 1991 have all aged at a snails pace. There is something about the warming sun and the autumnal equinox that gives these vintages full expression of this mountain terroir. Give it another few years in the bottle and drink with pleasure over the following decade.

2774 Cases produced.


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