2014 Stony Hill Chardonnay, Spring Mountain, Napa Valley
Stony Hill is one of the more historic wineries in Napa Valley, although for some reason they have always flown a little under the radar. They have always been a winery which has operated at its own speed, making wines the way they want, ignoring fashions and fads as they fade away.
Stony Hill was founded on Spring Mountain in 1943 by Fred and Eleanor McCrea. They were early adopters and proponents of Chardonnay due to their love of white Burgundy wines. In fact, when they first started planting Chardonnay, their neighbors thought they were crazy! At the time Gewurtztraminer and Riesling were much more popular wines. When they began to plant Chardonnay vines in 1947, there were only 200 acres of Chardonnay were grown in the entire state of California. Their first harvest came in 1952 along with construction of their small winery, one of the earliest in the 20th century rebirth of the Napa Valley wine industry. At the time there were only ten bonded wineries in Napa County! From the beginning Eleanor and Fred were inspired by the Chablis style of White Burgundy and to this day Stony Hill produces fruity, non-oaky, non-malolactic (non-buttery) Chardonnays. In addition, Stony Hill grows eight acres of White Riesling grapes, likely the largest such holding in all of Napa today. Six acres of Gewurztraminer complete the forty acres of vineyard, and from these grapes it makes a crisp, light, dry wine so complementary to spicy foods. In 2008 Stony Hill planted its first Cabernet vines ever. Their Cabernet has the same spirit of their legendary Chardonnays: driven by terroir, with pure elegance and finesse. They never rise to higher than 14% alcohol and perhaps remind one of what Napa Valley Cabernets were like in the 1970s.
A few years ago Stony Hill changed ownership, and in 2020 Jamie Motley was named as winemaker. Prior to this she was the assistant winemaker at Wind Gap / Pax Wine cellars in Sebastopol.