[WINE REVIEW] Alpha Omega 2011 Chardonnay

[review] Alpha Omega is a juxtaposition – an unexpected harmony of bold terroir and muted grapes that come together to create one of Napa’s newest boutique wineries. Surrounded by vineyards and mountains, Alpha Omega is located in legendary Rutherford in the heart of Napa Valley and is the beauty of this rustic, farm-style winery is as captivating as its wine.

Alpha Omega’s extraordinary winemakers, along with historic vineyards, combine to create wines that express the essence of this famous wine region. Winemaker Jean Hoefliger has teamed up with one of the world’s finest palates, Michel Rolland, to create wines that express their passion for excellence as well as the unique terroir that is Napa Valley. By procuring prized grapes from the various appellations of Napa Valley, Alpha Omega blends the essence of exceptional terroir ranging from valley floor, hillside, mountain and coast. Using natural techniques, they handcraft finesse-driven, complex and balanced wines, which express the aromatic profile of the best Napa Valley has to offer.

Alpha Omega’s winemaking team includes Michel Rolland, a wine world superstar
Alpha Omega’s winemaking team includes Michel Rolland, a wine world superstar

Winery founders Robin Baggett and Eric Sklar chose the name ‘Alpha Omega’ as a way of expressing how unique their new winery would be, as it establishes itself as one of the Napa Valley’s pre-eminent Cabernet Sauvignon producers.

“The name pays homage to the first merchants of wine, the ancient Greeks,” Robin and Eric explain. “Alpha & Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet and to us represent the ideals we strive for – full, rounded, well-balanced wine – and the idea of the best of the old world and the new in winemaking. Our goal is to become one of the great wine estates of the world.”

We had the pleasure of taking a break from the usual award winning Cabs of Napa and tasting Alpha Omega’s 2011 Chardonnay, a bright pale gold wine with intense notes of apricot and Meyer lemon and hints of pineapple and cloves…the perfect balance of finesse, elegance and minerality.

Grapes before becoming the liquid sunshine that is Alpha Omega's Chardonnay
Grapes before becoming the liquid sunshine that is Alpha Omega’s Chardonnay

Napa Valley faced myriad challenges in 2011. A cool and wet spring elayed the growing season and also created major shatter. The positive is it allowed the vine to concentrate its effort into the remaining clusters and give them intense flavors. Summer temperatures rarely rose above 90° F.

By the beginning of September, the season was weeks behind the norm, but it really helped the balance between acidity and ripeness, protecting the acidity from being burned. With the Chardonnay the winery was able to bring in grapes with high sugars while still maintaining acidity…which eventually led to a bottle of perfectly ripe absolutely delicious Chardonnay that will make you feel the sunshine of Napa on your cheeks and image the grass beneath your feet. It’s so good we drank two bottles, just to make sure each one was better than the last.

Alpha Omega Chardonnay