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NAPA, CALIF. (April 13,2004)

Chardonnay isn’t an afterthought at Waterstone winery in the Napa Valley, it just took owners Phillip Zorn and Brent Shortridge a little longer to line up top-quality vineyard sources for Chardonnay than it did for their other wines. Already established for its Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc, the two-year-old Waterstone winery has just introduced a Chardonnay to its line of under $20 Napa Valley wines.

Made by winemaker Phillip Zorn, the 2002 Carneros Chardonnay ($18) is sourced from two highly regarded vineyards in Carneros: Sangiacomo and the Laird Family’s Cold Creek Ranch. The wine reflects the cool climate and dense, shallow soils of the Carneros region and a mostly mild 2002 growing season. The Waterstone Chardonnay was barrel fermented and aged for 13 months in French oak barrels, including four months of “sur lie” aging. It received minimal filtration and fining to preserve its very complex fruit flavors. Zorn’s meticulous approach to winemaking, which includes gentle handling of fruit, the use of oak as appropriate, minimal filtration and careful preservation of acidity, has resulted in a rich, complex Chardonnay (904 cases) that captures the essence of the Carneros appellation.

For owners Shortridge and Zorn, who started the company in 2000, creating balanced Napa Valley wines with distinctive varietal character is paramount. Waterstone doesn't own any vineyards or winemaking facilities, but instead places a premium on seeking out top growers to supply fruit and developing strong, long-term relationships with them. Zorn rents space at another Napa Valley winery to make the wines, and he and Shortridge assemble the final wine blends in Zorn’s kitchen. As a result of their efforts and philosophy, Waterstone is quickly becoming known for producing top-quality Napa Valley wines that delight the palate and don't break the wallet.

For additional information on Waterstone, contact the winery at 707-265-8523.

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