Today we bring you a special spotlight on a Napa producer with a sterling reputation. Founded in 1992 by Randy and Debbie Lewis, Lewis is a relatively small Napa winery whose annual case production is approximately 9,000 of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. They produce some of the best Chardonnay in Napa, as evidenced by their absolutely stunning 2014 and 2015 bottlings. The small lot Chardonnay is whole cluster pressed, barrel fermented and aged sur lies with batonnage in 100% French oak for 11-15 months, undergoing 100% malolactic fermentation, then bottled unfined and unfiltered. It is hard to describe the richness, viscosity and beautiful texture of these wines. I think there are only a handful of California producers that capture this entire picture so brilliantly.
Josh Widaman serves as Lewis winemaker. Josh has a B.S. in Viticulture & Enology from UC Davis, and brings 15 years of winemaking experience to Lewis. Josh previously served as winemaker at Pahlmeyer and has previously worked for 4 years as assistant winemaker at Chimney Rock Winery and has held multiple roles at Stags' Leap Winery, Gloria Ferrer, and Viña Tarapaca in Chile. His 2014 and 2015 ‘Napa Valley’ Chardonnay wines were absolutely superlative, offering gobs of rich fruit and a scintillating texture. Learn more about these stunning Chards at lewiscellars.com Here are the gorgeous past two ‘Napa Valley’ Chardonnay releases by Lewis Cellars.
2014 Lewis 'Napa Valley’ Chardonnay- This outrageously good, heavyhitter of a Chardonnay by Lewis, shows a gorgeous combination of poise, opulent fruit and condensed oak treatment in a hot vintage. There are rich aromatics of butterscotch, toasted Macadamia nut, bananas foster, Meyer lemon zest and ripe golden delicious apple. This leads to dense flavors reminiscent of creme brulee, butterscotch, vanilla cream, buttered popcorn, poached pear and meringue, with hints of Meyer lemon zest. With rich weight on the mid-palate, and marvelous acidity, this is a stunner from this estate. There is an oily and sexy Chardonnay, bordering unctuous, as the stunningly plush texture coats the palate. The finish is exceedingly long, as this Chard is one that will only improve with a few years of bottle age. This Chardonnay wine is up there with the best California Chardonnay releases that I have reviewed in the past year. Drink 2016-2028- 95
2015 Lewis 'Napa Valley' Chardonnay- Drinking brilliantly straight out of the bottle this warm vintage bottling is an absolute home run by Lewis and superstar winemaker Josh Widaman. Tropical fruits immediately grip you aromatically and bring you back to the glass for more seduction. The silky texture, almost unctuous quality to this wine borders ethereal. Ripe flavors of creme brulee, bananas foster, pineapple upside down cake and Meyer lemon zest merge tropical with citrus cream. The astoundingly long finish lingers. The minute long finish astounds. Drink this stunner over the next ten plus years. Drink 2017-2027- 95