There is something special about a chardonnay when the winemaker acts more like a maestro, encouraging individual talents but not letting any one part dominate the piece. The fruit is allowed to play its part, as in this Gibbs chardonnay, with intense, ripe pear and red apple fruit; and the oak flavors come in with toasty, spice complexity, but it is how these components work together that creates the magic. The toasty oak and rich, stone fruits weave together in a seamless wave across the palate. You hardly notice how rich the body of the wine is, nor how vivid the acidity is, since these structural components are so well integrated.

It was in the 1970s that Dr. Lewis Gibbs turned some of his Napa Valley fruit and nut orchards into vineyards. Today, third-generation Spencer Gibbs Handly helps run this small family business. For more on Gibbs, visit gibbsnapavalley.com.

Catherine Bugue is the Star’s tasting panel writer. Her weekly pursuit of a good glass of wine provides a nice supply of choices for the Wine of the Week column. If you’d like to submit a Napa Valley wine for this column, please send it to the Napa Valley Wine Academy, 2501 Oak St., Napa, CA 94559. There’s no guarantee your wine will be chosen to be featured, but all wines will be evaluated and considered.

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