The 2013 Bridge 1904 Chardonnay is a crisp, full-bodied, and well balanced white wine. It is produced using whole cluster pressing; entire grape bunches are pressed very gently to extract the juice, spending some time in new French Oak and finishing the process in stainless steel.
2014 Bridge 1904 Chardonnay, Napa Valley
Distinct aromas of lemon zest, tart white peach and crisp pear show generously in this refreshing and focused cool-climate Chardonnay. The fruit is whole cluster pressed gently and sur lie fermented in 100% new French oak barrels with no malolactic fermentation. Driven by fruit intensity, lasting lemon minerality and bright acidity, the Chardonnay walks the ideal line between delicacy and weight.
Walking into the Vincent Arroyo Winery, one gets the sense that it has been here forever. Is it just the comfortable atmosphere of a big barn full of oak wine barrels that lends to the sense of permanence? Vincent Arroyo, himself, may feel like he has been here forever, as well. He left behind a career as a mechanical engineer in the Silicon Valley during the early 70’s and headed to Calistoga, at the northern tip of the Napa Valley. He felt much more at home close to the land, being able to see and taste the fruits of his labors.
The purchase of the 23 acres of the Greenwood Ranch property in 1974 began the evolution of what is seen today, 85 acres cultivating 9 different wine grape varietals. Vince has always been a farmer at heart, taking care of the land to produce the best that it can. He began to transform the Greenwood Ranch by ripping out existing prune trees and unhealthy vines and planting new vineyards. For many years, he did it all alone, the tractor work, cellar work and a one-man sales force. Originally he made just a few hundred cases of his favorites, Petite Sirah and Cabernet, selling the majority of the grape tonnage to other Napa wineries. Today, he produces over 8,000 cases of seven different varietals.
Vincent Arroyo now has help in the winery and vineyards, but the daily operations of the winery are still truly a family affair. Both Vince’s daughter, Adrian, and son- in- law, Matt, work full time at the winery. While Matt can usually be found in the cellar tending to the wines, Adrian’s primary role is overseeing the daily operations of both the winery and tasting room. However, Vince still does quite a bit of work himself. You may catch him on the tractor or down with the barrels, always , wanting to have a hand in what goes on around the winery that he grew. In fact, it is hard to keep him away from the barrels, with a wine thief in hand, when inquisitive customers stop by for a sample!
Vincent Arroyo’s winemaking style is the embodiment of his philosophy about his land. Take what you have, and do the best you can with it. Each wine at the winery is hand-crafted, starting from before the grapes are harvested. Vince decides how the grapes from each vineyard will be vinified, when they will be picked, how they will be crushed, what fermentation regimes they will undergo (pumpovers, extended macerations, pressings), and finally, what percentage of French or American barrels, new or old barrels to maximize the optimum flavors of the wine during the barrel-aging process.
The wines produced at the Vincent Arroyo Winery have put a star on many Napa Valley maps as a place that shouldn’t be missed. His signature wine, still Petite Sirah, has become so popular that it often sells out before it is bottled every year. Once you have tasted the wines, you’ll know why. The winery also makes a Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese, Zinfandel and several red blends.
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@CorTot@rjquillin Same here. CT tells me I still have one bottle left, but I searched my office and it’s not in the file cabinet. I think I may have sold it to a colleague and not marked it as such. My recollection is that it was pretty decent, in line with the Seattle note below.
Don’t you love when you write a post and it vanishes into the ether? We got to taste both of these at the Seattle gathering last weekend. Both serviceable, well made and varietally correct Chardonnay, but nothing exciting. Not buttery. I’d say 85 points. Price is right - if you’re looking for an everyday Chardonnay or something to serve non-wine snob guests, this is your wine. I might get a case for the vacation house. 2014 seemed more tropical than the 2013, for whatever reason.
I would echo that these are pretty decent wines. No noticeable oak. I picked up a slight yeast character to the 2013 that I didn’t get in the 2014. Both were quite zippy. I preferred the 2014 and estimated the price point around $10 just because of the fact they were older chards. Definitely not past their prime given the style. If you need some 2nd 3rd bottles for the patio theses are an ok choice.
What better way to end a day at work than to walk into the house and see an unexpected singleton wine box on the dining room table greeting me? Of course, that will teach me not to check my email each and every day.
Luckily, my wife was home to sign for the treasured package, and it promptly went into the refrigerator. Sadly, my wife was about to head off for an out of state trip, so rats that we are, that means “It’s wine review time tonight! Get the notepad ready to rat.”
The timeliness of this wine offering (and many this week) show that it’s time to bring out the summer whites!
For those familiar with VA/Bridge 1904, either from prior Casemates, or “the predecessor”, you likely know what to expect from the Bridge 1904 label. For us, we knew the Cab Sav of a previous offering, but not the Chardonnay. Based on tasting notes, the 2014 vintage seems to be very similar to the 2013 offering. Yes, I know many will say that biased the write up below, but since I’m the only one that read them, it’s only 1/3 biased. And only slightly. More of a confirmation bias.
Although there was no time for any travel shock recovery for us, we forged ahead and prepped the bottle for some pop and pour initial taste.
Uncorking showed a snug Napa Valley cork, and a very light gold pour, with zero sediment or cork. The back label has little information outside of the governmental boilerplate and 1904 contact information. The attractive and subtle front label, in amazingly small font, notes the alcohol content at 14.3%.
For the tasting, along with my wife, we lured a family member completely unfamiliar with wine, but a very good palate, as a wild card novice reviewer. All notes were compiled without collusion or seeing the other opinions. It’s science, after all. And critical rattage, at that.
Me: medium body- long and broad persistent legs on swirl. Nose very appley chard with some light spice notes (note- spell check doesn’t like the word ‘appley’). Cinnamon? Nutmeg? Initial taste- moderately tart apple, very crisp, slight acid tartness; just a touch of oak and vanilla- some light clove/banana ester flavor (this is my beer brewing nomenclature horning in).
Party A: apple to tropical fruit- a bit of guava-like flavor. Having a bit of congestion, she bottom lined it as “I like it!” (note: she knows what she likes and doesn’t like, and takes no prisoners in reviews.)
Party B (the non-wine view): Nose of peach nectar/apple cider; acidic notes with alcohol. Taste- some sweetness after the initial bite, some tartness & bitter lingering.
Take this as the completely unbiased, unfamiliar with Chardonnay, or even wine tabula rasa view. I was impressed at how well this justified my own fully biased views. And my confirmation bias snuck back into my review like a weasel in a hen house.
After 24 hours recorked- the weasel confirmed the apple, pear, with a bit of tropical flavor in the initial taste, with nice lingering acidity on the palate.
Unbelievably, I held a bit back for a day 3 sample, where the wine held up well, softening a little but still VERY enjoyable with a nice tart touch and a very nice finish.
The weasel in me liked to thing that Party B would have concurred.
Summary- Some of our favorite Chards from WineDavid have been the unoaked Iron Horse, along with Wellingtons. This one has a different profile, but it VERY nicely stands on its own or as an accompaniment to food (we had General Tso chicken and rice). If you are looking for a buttery, oaky Chardonnay, this one is not that- but it might provide a welcome transition to a differing style. If you are looking for a flavorful Chardonnay with some uniqueness to it, we were all in agreement this is likely one you should try.
I saw that someone asked about NbyNW- this one is very different from that, but at the Casemates “such a deal” price, if the description above sounds interesting, it’s a no brainer. We are definitely in for a case for the summer, despite our growing encroachment of wine cases into our living space.
Appreciate the opportunity to rat for our Casemates family!!
@benguin986 That’s nice that this held up for a third day, with only a little left in the bottle. I’m assuming you didn’t take any special measures, just recap the bottle and refrigerate? Sounds like it has some good acidity!
My husband was home to receive the box, asking if I’d ordered more wine (finally making my way over to CM from WW). I don’t think it was a complaint, more surprised that there was only one bottle.
Ah, it must be a golden ticket (bottle arrived before email)! My inaugural Lab Rat adventure (you too should fill out the survey and good things will happen) … it is a bottle of Bridge 1904 Chardonnay, now chilling in the fridge.
Light, pleasant smell - maybe tart apple and a hint of something floral but not sure what. Initial taste has a bright and crisp flavor, and then apple, and nice long finish that I liked - the flavors seem to go creamy and smooth. It’s dry and tasty, and would be good with a meal. Alas, I only had a piece of sharp English cheddar with it which wasn’t the right fit (as you can see, my ability to project what would be a good pairing is lacking).
I don’t generally drink much Chardonnay (tend toward dry rose if not having red) but I like this one. Husband gave it a thumbs up as well.