WHAT: Black Stallion Chardonnay is one of those really good wines that often flies under the radar. I’ve had it before and never given it much thought, but this time I spent a good while appreciating its aroma and color and the wonderful, layered flavors. Napa Chardonnays can be complex and rewarding because of the array of soils and climates in the valley. This is a perfect example.
The floral and citrus aromas are a tease to the flavors of citrus, peach, spice and almond, with each sip unveiling a new flavor. It’s a creamy wine, with a long, lingering, smooth finish. A fresh acidity balances the fruit, giving the wine structure and finesse.
A cool 2010 in Napa Valley provided great growing conditions for Chardonnay with concentrated ripe fruit flavors and rich texture. Napa’s southern regions of Carneros and Green Island saw cool, foggy mornings and mild afternoons that produced bright fruit flavors and a zesty backbone.
That was blended with juice from the farther north and warmer Rutherford region, which produced grapes that offered tropical fruit, nectar and honey notes.
Yeast was matched to each vineyard block, and then the wine was fermented in new and year-old French oak barrels. A malolactic fermentation added the smooth, lush mouthfeel. The wine was then aged in barrels for seven months. The result is a delightful wine.
Serve the wine slightly chilled. If you refrigerate it, take it out 15-30 minutes before serving.
WINERY: Black Stallion Winery is on the Silverado Trail in the Oak Knoll District, in the southern half of the Napa Valley.
According to the winery’s Web site, the name Black Stallion is a tribute to the history of the 32-acre estate, which was once home to the Silverado Horseman’s Center. The equestrian center featured an indoor riding track, training rings, breeding facilities and an outdoor arena that seated 3,000 spectators.
The winery opened its doors in 2007. The indoor track now houses winemaking production, but remnants of the original horse stalls are visible today.
In 2010, Black Stallion Winery was purchased by the Indelicato Family, one of the leading family-owned wine producers in the country.
The picturesque tasting room is easy to spot as you drive along the Silverado Trail because it has a large sculpture of a black stallion on its hind legs.
The winery produces a wide array of wines, red, white and Rose, and Muscat. Most of the wines are small-case lots and available only through the winery or online. The Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are available in restaurants and wine shops.
GOES WITH: This Chardonnay was a very nice match for some chicken gumbo I made. The well-balanced fruit and acidity stood up well to the spices of the gumbo, and the creamy mouthfeel enhanced the flavors.
The wine would go well with many full-flavored dishes such as lobster rolls, roasted pork loin, beer-can chicken and semi-soft cheeses such as Gouda and Havarti.