AG Pick: Antica Napa Valley 2009 Estate Chardonnay

The finesse of Italian tradition and the high quality of Napa Valley come together in the elegant Antica Napa Valley 2009 Estate Chardonnay.

The name is a combination of Antinori and California, the former being one of the most well-known wine families and companies in Italy. The Antinori family has a history of winemaking that dates back 26 generations and more than 600 years.

The California estate of the Antinori family is located in the Atlas Peak District in the Napa Valley, an area of hilly terrain and rocky soils. The grapes used for the 2009 Chardonnay were grown at an average elevation of 1420 feet, on vines that were between 9 and 21 years old.

Following the harvest that spanned three weeks in September, fermentation took place in 30% new French oak barrels. The wine spent an additional six months aging on the lees in the barrels, during which time malolactic fermentation helped to soften the acidity. Each barrel was then tasted, with only the best chosen for the final wine.

The care that went into making this wine is evident when you take a sip. Refined and well balanced, the oak enhances the fresh fruit flavors of the Chardonnay grapes.

Tree fruit and citrus aromas introduce flavors of pear, apple, sweet starfruit and white peach, with a hint of lemongrass. Layers of creamy vanilla and hazelnut add depth. The finish is long and rich.

Pair the Antica 2009 Chardonnay with chicken, white fleshed fish, salmon, fruits de mer or pasta dishes with a cream or olive oil-based sauce. Or try the Burrata d’Estate or Pasta al Telephono recipes provided by Antica below.

A bottle of the Antica Napa Valley 2009 Estate Chardonnay costs $35.

alcohol 14.2% by volume

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Burrata d’Estate

Creamy Burrata, Nectarines & Tender Summer Greens
serves 10

5 – 6 oz tender greens, cleaned and spun dry
2 – 3 nectarines, sliced in 1⁄4 inch moon shapes
10 oz Burrata—divided into 1 ounce portions
Antica olive oil
salt and pepper
8 tbsp vinaigrette (recipe below)
5 tbsp chopped salted Marcona almonds or roasted almonds

pinch of salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Champagne vinaigrette
5 – 6 tbsp Antica olive oil

To make this simple vinaigrette place salt into a bowl large enough that you can use a whisk. Add lemon juice to the salt and then slowly whisk in the olive oil. This vinaigrette should be slightly acidic so that it complements the nectarines and the Burrata. Adjust salt for balance.

Salad Assembly:
1.  In a medium bowl, place greens and then slowly add the vinaigrette according to your personal taste. Toss gently and then add the nectarine slices. Salt and pepper to taste.
2.  Place salad in individual serving bowls. Add approximately one ounce of Burrata to the salad. Optional: place the fresh cheese to the side so that it is not lost in the salad. Drizzle the Burrata with Antica olive oil and a pinch of salt.
3.  Sprinkle with chopped almonds and serve.

Pasta al Telefono

Serves 4 as main, 8 as a first course

1⁄2 cup olive oil, more to finish the dish
1 clove garlic
4 basil leaves, more for garnish
28 oz can of whole tomatoes
8 oz very small mozzarella balls
1/8 cup kosher salt
penne pasta
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Put very large pot of water on to boil.
2.  While the water boils, place olive oil, whole garlic cloves and bay leaves in a pan large enough to hold the pasta once it is cooked. Heat oil to allow the garlic and basil leaves flavors to marry. The olive should not overheat, and the fire should be kept low.
3.  Strain the tomatoes from the can, saving some of the sauce in case it is needed. Cut the tomatoes with a using a knife and fork or two knives. (This motion is similar to cutting up food for a child) The pieces should be very small.
4.  Add the tomatoes to the oil mixture that has been heated. Allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes, adding more olive oil to keep a sauce consistency. Remove the basil and garlic.
5.  When pasta water boils, add salt and the pasta. Stir immediately so that the pasta does not stick to each other. The water should be salty. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, reducing the cooking time by 2 minutes.
6.  Taste the pasta midway to ensure there is enough salt.
7.  Add the mozzarella to the tomato sauce when the pasta is being drained, so that it starts to melt.
8.  Add cooked pasta to the tomato sauce to finish cooking for the remaining two minutes. Stir like crazy, taste for salt and pepper, and serve warm. Garnish with more olive oil and a sprig of basil. The cheese should be stringy, just like a telephone cord.