100% Chardonnay. After 20 years of winemaking in the Napa Valley, John Kongsgaard launched his own brand of Chardonnay with the 1996 vintage. The core of their endeavor is the ten-acre vineyard planted on a rocky hilltop in southeast Napa Valley which has belonged to the Kongsgaard family since the 1920s. For 50 years the volcanic slopes sustained a small herd of skinny cattle and provided the idyllic romping grounds for two generations of lucky kids including John. In the ’70s John and Maggy planted eight acres to Chardonnay. The extremely rocky soil has the vines on a near-starvation diet, restricting yields to one to two tons per acre of super-concentrated fruit. Their low-intervention winemaking is modeled after 19th Century traditional European cellar practices (imagine the world before Pasteur and electricity). They avoid adding yeast and bacteria to the wine, and do long elevages in 100% French new oak with little or no added SO2. At bottling, fining and filtration are avoided in their quest to express the essence of their unique vineyard sites. While the Kongsgaard wines can be enjoyed for their sheer power and intensity when young, they develop beautifully with several years of bottle age. All of the Chardonnays, even the initial 1996 are still drinking beautifully and improving, with no signs of cracking up.