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The Nuits-Saint-Georges A.C. wines are produced on land delimited by the parishes of Nuits-Saint-Georges and Premeaux-Prissey.
The grapes bear small little dark red berries. The bunches are destemmed; they macerate in open vats during 4 weeks helping this subtle terroir to reveal itself. After devatting, the wines are aged in oak barrels during 18 months.
Bright cherry, currant and strawberry fruit flavors are backed by a dense matrix of dusty tannins in this compact red. Balanced, lingering with a hint of cumin on the finish. The saturated flavors are intense. Best from 2023 through 2038. 660 cases made, 200 cases imported. — Wine Spectator 93 Points
Vintners Dennis O’Neil and Steph Martin began development of Checkerboard Vineyards in 1999 and retained winemaker Martha McClellan to create a portfolio of wines reflecting the mountainside. The estate includes four vineyard sites of different elevation, exposure and soil composition, providing the foundation for a portfolio that includes Checkerboard Aurora Vineyard, Checkerboard Coyote Ridge Vineyard, Checkerboard Nash Creek Vineyard, Checkerboard Kings Row, Checkerboard Sauvignon Blanc, and Checkerboard Rose. Grapes are harvested at dawn in micro-lots and delivered steps away to the winery where clusters are sorted, discarding any blemished ones. Individual berries are hand-selected for vinification and transferred for fermentation, by hand, to Taransaud wooden tanks, stainless tanks, and individual wooden barrels.
Farming is based on long-term sustainability and includes water conservation and monitoring, permanent cover crops planted in alternating rows, and the use of entomology for pest control and the development of soils with good organic matter and microbiology. Checkerboard Vineyards is a member of Fish Friendly Farming which promotes environmentally-friendly land practices and water quality management. Aurora Vineyard is located in a small valley midway up Diamond Mountain and on a large knoll at an elevation of 1,200 feet. The knoll bulges outward, giving the vineyard full Southern exposure and open light from the East and West and protection from Napa Valley’s summer fog. Six acres are planted in the knoll’s rich, volcanic soils that are riddled with basalt cobble in a loamy red clay. The remaining six acres are planted in a deep gravely mix of volcanic ash and chips of decomposed Rhyolite that were washed down from the steep, rocky crags of Diamond Mountain above.
There's a fresh, sweet aroma to the 2016 Checkerboard Aurora Vineyard that builds excitement and anticipation for what's to come. On approach, the palate is juicy and expansive and explodes with flavors of blackberry, mulberry, dark cherry, caramel, leaf tobacco and green olive. The wine continues with a voluptuousness that's linear and constant yet lifted by natural acidity. The finish is showy, long and lingering with finely polished tannins. An exceptional vintage.