Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used to make white wine. It originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France but is now grown wherever wine is produced. The Chardonnay grape itself is very neutral, with many of the flavors commonly associated with the grape being derived from such influences as terroir and oak. It is vinified in many different styles, from the lean, crisply mineral wines of Chablis, France to New World wines with oak, and tropical fruit flavors. In cool climates (such as Chablis and the Sonoma Coast AVA of California), Chardonnay tends to be medium to light body with noticeable acidity and flavors of green plum, apple and pear. In warmer locations (such as the Adelaide Hills and Mornington Peninsula in Australia and Gisborne and Marlborough region of New Zealand) the flavors become more citrus, peach and melon while in very warm locations (such as the Napa Valley AVA of California) more fig and tropical fruit notes such as banana and mango come out. Wines that have gone through malolactic fermentation tend to have softer acidity and fruit flavors with buttery mouthfeel and hazelnut notes.
- Item #: i_200000Bottle Size: 750MLAcacia Vineyard is in the heart of the Carneros wine region, with stellar views of vineyards and the bay. This premium winegrowing region enjoys the cooling influence of the Pacific Ocean and summer fog, making it an ideal growing area for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Acacia was a pioneer in this appellation when it began in 1979 and continues to craft Burgundian-inspired varietals which have been consistently delicious beyond their price point.
And on the subject of price points, the plan with this program is to put the best and most representative of California's Chardonnay growing regions in a bottle and give it a very refreshing price. So here you have it: Monterey, Santa Maria Valley, Paso Robles, and even a touch of Carneros fruit blended together to make a really lovely sipper (someone forgot to tell the wine it shouldn't taste this good at $9.99). An exotic aroma is followed by a rainbow of stone and tropical fruits, it's bright and crisp, and the finish is long. This is one to procure by the case - people are forever dropping by!
- Item #: i_200090Bottle Size: 750mlVibrant aromas of crème brûlée, ginger, lemon curd and white peach are followed by a creamy entry which blossoms to a full, sweet, peach, nectarine and citrus mid-palate. Medium-bodied with vibrant acidity, the wine finishes long and full.
- Item #: 200240Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 92ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 92 POINTS - "(21% new oak): Pale, brilliant yellow. Displays racy, mineral-accented citrus and orchard fruit scents that show impressive focus and spicy lift. Shows excellent delineation and tension on the palate, offering nervy Meyer lemon, quince and candied ginger flavors that deepen slowly and pick up a hint of smokiness on the back half. Closes dry and impressively long, with repeating minerality and firm, tangy bite."
- Item #: i_200650Bottle Size: 750mlBibiana Gonzalez Rave crafts the Alma de Cattleya wines to be high-quality offerings that represent Sonoma County. Alma means "soul" in Spanish, and Cattleya is the national flower of her native country, Columbia. Making wine meant having to leave Columbia for other climates conducive to grape growing: leaving Bibiana to recognize her country, and her passion, in making this wine.
These Chardonnay grapes were grown along the rolling hills of Sonoma County. The cold and foggy days slowly ripen the grapes, capturing the beauty of this variety: great texture, intense fruit aromatics, and ample acidity.
- Item #: i_200515Bottle Size: 750mlANTONIO GALLONI 91 POINTS - "The 2015 Chardonnay El Jabali Vineyard is a very pretty, nuanced wine. Understated, soft and silky, it has much to offer. This is an especially delicate style of Chardonnay, especially for the Sta. Rita Hills. Dried pear, herb and dried flowers add nuance throughout."
- Item #: i_200505Bottle Size: 375mlWine Spectator: 91**Please note, this is a half sized bottleWINE SPECTATOR 91 POINTS - "A broad-shouldered effort, rich and layered, with extracted pear and melon flavors and toasty, smoky, vanilla-scented oak making for a mouthful of Chardonnay that reminds me of versions from Napa in years past. Drink now through 2021. 3,000 cases made."
- Item #: i_200520Bottle Size: 750mlAlpha Omega's Chardonnay is naturally fermented, unfined and unfiltered. The integration of six different clones of Chardonnay brings unique characteristics to this multifaceted wine. They achieve precision and balance by an 18-month aging process in French oak with constant stirring. The result is an elegant and finesse driven Chardonnay that embodies Meursault with a California accent.
This Chardonnay is bright yellow gold with hints of buttermilk and mercury. On the nose there's an explosion of brioche, gingerbread and creme brulee with touches of apricot, quince and tomato stems lingering on citrus, honey, soap and butterscotch. The palate is fresh on entry, evolving on salted caramel with hints of butterscotch and citrus lingering on nutmeg, fresh pears and candied peaches.
- Item #: 201320Bottle Size: 750mlAmalie Robert's "Heirloom Cameo" Chardonnay is fermented in a single, large format French oak barrel or "puncheon." The goal of this fermentation style is to enhance the breadth and depth of the wine through limited oak exposure and extended yeast or "lees" aging. Stylistically, this wine is made to be enjoyed throughout its time in bottle. Upon release the wine is fresh with pungent aromas and a broad mouth feel, followed by a crisp and satisfying finish. We expect this wine to age gracefully for several years and will reward a laddered approach to monitoring its development. The Chardonnay for this wine is estate grown in 1 small block. The blend is about half Dijon clone 76 and half Dijon clone 95. In most years this block ripens until a beautifully hued golden patina envelops the skins, and then Amalie Robert hand harvests all 1,089 vines.
Scintillating aromas of Meyer lemon zest, purple passion fruit and carambola sheathed in a suggestion of five spice and pheromone provide intrigue. The deftly balanced palate is silky chiffon with latent acidity providing a gentle lift, all the while the effortlessly evolving textures and aromas vex. The enduring finish echoes the virtue of presence without weight. Only 70 cases were produced!
- Item #: i_211290Bottle Size: 750mlThe Ancient Peaks Chardonnay vines are rooted in granitic soils along the southeast border of the vineyard, where the morning and afternoon temperatures are particularly cool. Here, brisk marine air settles after flowing through a mountain notch known as Trout Creek. These conditions provide Chardonnay fruit with the long period necessary to nurture vivid varietal character. Margarita Vineyard stands alone as the southernmost vineyard in the Paso Robles region, and as the only vineyard in the new Santa Margarita Ranch AVA. The surrounding mountain peaks act as a gateway for cool marine air, resulting in an extended growing season that yields fruit with uncommon depth and structure. The peaks are also testaments to the tectonic forces that created Margarita Vineyard’s rare diversity of soils, ultimately fostering natural complexity in their wines.
This Chardonnay offers inviting aromas of pear, fig and lime zest with a hint of apple blossom. The palate begins on a creamy note, unfolding with bright flavors of nectarine, white peach, pineapple and lemon drop. Brisk mineral accents and fresh acidity converge on a buoyant, lively finish.
- Item #: i_200730Bottle Size: 750mlLocated in the coastal foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountain Range, the vineyards selected for this Reserve Monterey County Chardonnay are consistently cooled by the marine layer funneled in from the Monterey Bay throughout the growing season. Fog that is late to burn off, and a cool midday breeze, extend hang time to allow the grapes to be picked at the peak of the fruit’s flavor and acidity.
This juicy, fruit driven Chardonnay is dominated by aromas of ripe golden apples, tropical pineapple and coconut, and zesty Meyer lemons. Not to be outdone, the luscious palate is balanced by bright acids and mild oak influence gives this wine a delicious lingering finish.
- Item #: 201790Bottle Size: 750MLArgyle's Nuthouse Chardonnay is all about the interplay of savory texture and mineral edge. There is a satisfying and long lasting richness that is hard to define in words. A chord which travels from the back of the palate, through the spine and into the crust of the volcanic soil of the Willamette Valley. Fresh cut wheat, lemon sabayon, crepes suzette, and delicate flake pastry.
- Item #: i_200330Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 94The focus of this two person operation is on small lot, single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay, as well as several other varieties uncommon in Northern Californian vineyards. Sites are carefully chosen and are generally on the cooler end of the spectrum for the planted varieties. Collaboration with dedicated and passionate growers is paramount in the farming of these sites.
Duncan and Nathan grew up around winemaking in the Napa Valley. Nathan is a second generation cooper and personally builds all of the French oak barrels that are utilized in the ageing of all Arnot-Roberts wines. Over the years Duncan has worked making wine in the Napa Valley in wineries like, Caymus, Groth, Acacia, Kongsgaard. Total production of Arnot-Roberts is around 2,000 cases per year with thirteen individual wines.
The Watson Ranch Chardonnay comes from one of the southernmost vineyards in Napa Valley AVA. The vines were planted in 1990 and dry farmed in clay over limestone with a view of San Pablo Bay. The wine was whole cluster pressed, fermented in stainless steel by native yeasts and aged in neutral French oak barrels.
ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "The 2016 Chardonnay Watson Ranch is powerful and ample, as it often is, but also has quite a bit of aromatic freshness to play off the richness of the yellow orchard fruit. This is an especially savory, mineral-driven style of Chardonnay, with the natural breadth of Carneros, and phenomenal balance."
- Item #: i_200430Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 90ANTONIO GALLONI 90 POINTS - "Au Bon Climat's 2015 Chardonnay Los Alamos is forward, succulent and open-knit, all qualities that give the wine much of its immediacy and sheer appeal. Orchard fruit, white flowers, mint and sage are nicely layered throughout."
- Item #: i_200400Bottle Size: 750MLBurgundian in sensibility but with California style is one way of describing Jim Clendenen's Chardonnays- Structure and restraint melded with bountiful opulence is another. In the glass, buttery brioche marries with tropical fruits in an irresistible elixir that will leave the bottle drained before you know it.
- Item #: i_202980Bottle Size: 750mlWinemaker's Notes: "This is what you get when you blend three impeccably farmed Chardonnay vineyards together. You get Fuji Apple, lemony salt water taffy, and a delicate herbal note that lies somewhere between spearmint and cumin. If you stainless ferment it at cool temperatures, it all gets delivered to the senses like a laser beam. The three vineyards are mine, Donnachadh (pronounced Donnaka), and Peake, so it doesn’t get much more Sta. Rita Hills than that."
- Item #: i_202570Bottle Size: 750MLJack Niven pioneered winegrape planting with Paragon Vineyard in the Edna Valley in 1973. Not the bystander type, his wife Catharine soon after began a project that grew into what is now Baileyana Winery. In the mid 1990s, their two sons, James and John, purchased property next door, and expanded Paragon Vineyard. They designed and planted these new blocks with select clones, varieties and rootstocks specific to the site. They names this section Firepeak, in homage of th extinct volcanoes in the area, and the resulting volcanic soils.
A bright but complex Chardonnay, this wine has upfront flavors of crisp pear, lemon zest, pineapple, and hints of creamy vanilla. Aromas of citrus and tropical flavors highlight the complexity of flavors that run throughout. The wine is smoothly textured and is well balanced from start to finish.
- Item #: i_204000Bottle Size: 750mlSit back, relax, and bask in rich aromas of ripe pear, melon, toasted hazelnut, vanilla, and jasmien that beautifully complement flavors of yellow peach, Fuji apple, honeydew melon and toasted brioche. This medium-bodied Chardonnay has the perfect balance of richness, freshness, and mild acidity.
- Item #: i_204330Bottle Size: 750MLFor those of you who are familiar with the Benziger line, you know by now that this family produces some of the best values from Sonoma and are fanatics amongst the wine world’s Green movements. In fact, the Benziger Family has been for years working on converting their vineyards to organic practices and recently has recieved for many of their vineyards “Certified Sustainable” designations.
- Item #: i_275937Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 90-92People in the wine world always want to talk about the "new kid on the block", but what needs to be remembered is there are a few of the "old guards" that will go toe-to-toe with those "young guns" and give them a run for their money! For decades, Beringer has been making phenomenal, world-class wines utilizing time-honored techniques that are still used today by virtually all the high-quality producers…even by those "young guns"!
Beringer's Private Reserve Chardonnay highlights the richness and complexity of this varietal and has been one of the benchmark Chardonnays since its first vintage in 1978. Just to give you an idea of the quality, let's take a look at the scores from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate for the past few years:
2015 Vintage - 91 Points
2012 Vintage - 93 Points
2011 Vintage - 95 Points
2010 Vintage - 87 Points
2009 Vintage - 93 Points
2008 Vintage - 94 Points
2007 Vintage - 92 Points
2006 Vintage - 92 Points
These are scores that most producers receive every so often…but not with this consistency. This is one of the reasons why Beringer's Private Reserve Chardonnay is such in demand. And how do they do it? Well, winemaker Laurie Hook ferments the juice in French oak barrels to enhance the natural richness in the wine. Weekly lees stirring enhanced the toasty notes, and integrated the oak flavors for an overall balance. All of the wine was put through malolactic fermentation to encourage a lush creaminess. After 9 months aging, Laurie chose the most expressive lots and blended them to create this richly layered wine.
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 90-92 POINTS - "A tank sample, the 2016 Chardonnay Private Reserve opens with peaches and cream notes and suggestions of cedar box, pink grapefruit and green mango with a touch of nutmeg. Medium to full-bodied with an appealingly oily texture, it delivers mouth-filling tropical fruit and oak flavors, finishing with great persistence."
- Item #: i_202680Bottle Size: 750MLVinous Media: 90This is the second label for Talley Vineyards. The goal with the Bishop's Peak Chardonnay is to produce wine that reflects the distinct aroma and flavor of cool climate Chardonnay in the purest way possible. Consequently no new oak barrels are used for fermentation or aging. The 2016 vintage was produced entirely from Oliver's Vineyard in the Edna Valley, predominantly in stainless steel with some neutral French oak barrels. The 2016 vintage of Bishop's Peak Chardonnay is light straw in appearance and reveals aromas of lemon, white peach, and jasmine. On the palate, intriguing notes of orange creamsicle, pear juice, and lime zest are enhanced by a chalky minerality. Try pairing this refreshing chardonnay with oysters on the half shell or linguini with clams.
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 90 POINTS - "(raised in a combination of stainless steel tanks and neutral French oak barrels) Limpid yellow. Fresh pear, melon, orange zest and a hint of chamomile on the nose; a subtle hint of leesiness emerges slowly. Juicy and round on the palate, offering ripe citrus and orchard fruit flavors accented by a smoky nuance. Silky and focused on the finish, which shows good lift, spicy cut, and very good, floral-driven persistence."
- Item #: 205300Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 92ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 92 POINTS - "Brilliant yellow. Displays fresh melon, Meyer lemon and pear skin scents that are sharpened by a suggestion of dusty minerals. Seamless and sharply focused in the mouth, offering juicy citrus and orchard fruit flavors. A jolt of quinine adds a refreshingly bitter edge. Deeper notes of honey and toasty lees come out on the penetrating finish, which hangs on with excellent tenacity."
- Item #: i_205542Bottle Size: 750mlWe feel that Bogle has one of the most solid wine portfolios in the business, and they prove that it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg! The Bogle family has been farming since the mid 1800’s and their reputation has continued to grow. The fact that they want to sell wines that people can actually afford doesn’t hurt, either. A little something for everyone: barrel fermentation, sur-lies aging, and partial malolactic fermentation. These hand-crafted processes create a rich and elegant wine with layers of complexity.
Fresh tropical fruits like pineapple, mango and green apple greet both the nose and palate upon first sip, followed up by a touch of lemon cream. Complimented by more creamy notes of butterscotch and caramel, the wine has a long, lingering finish hinting of toasty oak.