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_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_200430Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 90Wine Enthusiast: 91 PointsThe Los Alamos Vineyard is roughly 500 planted acres, most of which is on flat bottomland of the Los Alamos Valley that is sandwiched between the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley appellations. The best grapes from this vineyard are found to the north on the gentle slopes of the hills. Au Bon Climat sources grapes grown at the top of the wind-swept slopes of the Solomon Hills. On this hilltop the wind and shallower soils keep the yields low and the grapes struggle to ripen. Even though it is a struggle, the small crop ripens early. This is the first Chardonnay to arrive at the winery for the last 10 years. The small crop on these hardy vines is concentrated.
WINE ENTHUSIAST 91 POINTS - "Warm almond, white peach and sweet oak aromas show on the nose of this wine from legend Jim Clendenen. There is solid tension to the palate, where edgy flavors of lemon skin are balanced by the warmth of hazelnut."
- 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 #: i_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_215510Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 92Dierberg has been on a roll the past few years! Other wineries have sourced fruit from this prominent vineyard and received high scores for their superbly crafted wines. Dierberg still sells much of their fruit, but they have begun to keep some of the better sections for themselves. That being said, their own label hasn't skipped a beat, and is receiving the same high scores as their customers!
Located 13 miles from the Pacific Ocean in one of the coolest wine-growing corners of California's Central Coast, Dierberg Vineyard is on the western edge of Santa Barbara County's Santa Maria Valley appellation, which is world-renowned for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Their vineyard is planted to newer "Dijon" clones, as well as other "heritage clones"; heritage clones whose roots go back to the Burgundy area of France, offering a clonal diversity unlike almost any other Pinot vineyard in California.
ANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - "Lemon confit, slate, mint and a host of mineral-inflected notes give the 2014 Chardonnay Dierberg Vineyard its super-distinctive phenolic, tense personality. One of the more structured, broad wines in the Tyler lineup, the Dierberg has enough intensity to pair with a wide range of foods. Today, the 2014 is a bit tightly wound, but it offers notable potential. This is another understated, classy wine from Justin Willett. An early-ripening site with light, powdery, sand/sandstone soils, Dierberg is the first site Willett picks for Tyler."
- Item #: i_222500Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 92+Vinous Media: 90The Gran Moraine vineyard was planted in 2005 to several different Dijon clones. Located five miles west of the town of Carlton this site is one of the more westerly vineyards in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA and therefore subject to the cooling afternoon breezes that roll off the Pacific. A variety of slopes, aspects, row direction, and plant material offer a wide diversity of blocks to choose from when blending this Yamhill-Carlton Chardonnay.
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 92+ POINTS - "The 2016 Chardonnay Yamhill-Carlton has a lovely open nose of spiced apples, acacia honey, lemon cream, toast and dried white flowers. Medium-bodied with a great creamy texture, it fills the mouth with layers of honey toast, cream, ripe orchard fruits and spice, with great mouthwatering acidity and a long floral finish. 2,130 cases produced."
- Item #: i_228800Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 93Jeb Dunnuck: 94 PointsHartford Family Winery was founded in 1994 as a result of Don and Jennifer Hartford's appreciation for the wines, the people, and the unique vineyards near their Russian River Valley home. Located in the Sonoma County town of Forestville, the winery is about 15 miles from the cool Pacific Coast. Making delicious wines of high personality is directly related to the difficult locations of their vineyard sources, the limited production of their bottlings and the varietals they use. "Character through adversity" is an expression that they believe applies to people and grapevines and surviving adversity builds character, and personality, in both.
The Russian River Valley is one of the best places in the world for growing Chardonnay. The cooling winds from the Pacific Ocean spread throughout the area, and help to moderate the temperatures throughout the day, whereas areas just to the east are exceptionally warmer. Also, the soils are a mix of sand, clay, and silt. The clay brings richness to a wine, while the sand brings more flowered aromatics and brightness in the wine. If you ask us, this sounds like the recipe for Chardonnay perfection!
JEB DUNNUCK 94 POINTS - "The largest production cuvee from Hartford Court is their 2017 Chardonnay Russian River Valley. Its medium gold color is followed by a rounded, supple, textured Chardonnay that has classic notes of pineapple, white flowers, honeysuckle, and toasted spice. Rounded, fleshy, and textured on the palate, with plenty of oomph, it shows the quality of this estate beautifully."
- Item #: i_274320Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 93ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 93 POINTS - "This is a small new project for Scott Hawley and it's devoted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from vineyards in the cooler regions south of Paso Robles. Hawley says that he's really enjoying the chance to break away from making the powerful, brawny wines of his home region and "seeing how the other half lives." For an inaugural effort this is a very strong lineup and I wouldn't have guessed that they were made by a man who earned his fame by working with Rhone varieties."
"Light hazy yellow. Fresh melon, tangerine, jasmine and a hint of iodine on the highly perfumed nose. Silky and seamless in the mouth, offering intense, mineral-laced honeydew and orchard fruit flavors and a refreshingly bitter orange zest flourish that builds with aeration. Smoothly blends richness and vivacity and closes with impressive mineral lift and persistence."
- Item #: i_276750Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 93To preserve the character of both the vineyard and vintage, the grapes are whole-cluster pressed directly to a combination of new, neutral, and stainless steel barrels. Winemaker Ehren Jordan (whose Failla label produces wines of admirable elegance and complexity) fermented the wine with indigenous yeast followed by native ML fermentation, with 11 months on lees. This gentle process provides a stable wine requiring neither fining nor filtration before bottling.
This straw/gold colored wine shows aromas of graventstein apple, pear, toasted almond, lilies, apricot, honey, brown butter, celery, and anise. Dry and medium-bodied on the palate, the flavors are of yellow apple, ripe pear, wet rock, and peach. The balance between alcohol, oak, intensity, and varietal character are magnificent.
ANTONIO GALLONI 93 POINTS - "These are the first wines I have tasted from Mindego Ridge. Proprietors Dave and Stacey Gollnick planted 8.7 acres of Pinot Noir and just 1.3 acres of Chardonnay, although Chardonnay may ultimately prove to be the more interesting of the two varieties grown here. The Gollnicks recently brought on the talented Ehren Jordan to make the wines (starting with the 2013 vintage) and also sell a small amount of Pinot to Thomas Fogarty."
"The 2013 Chardonnay offers a super-intriguing interplay of the vivid, crystalline purity that is such a signature of the appellation, along with soft contours that give the wine much of its welcoming personality. Scents of dried pear, apricot, flowers, mint and white pepper add to the wine considerable appeal. This is a wine with tons of potential, especially as the vines get older. The 2013 was in 85% French oak (15% new) and 15% stainless steel."
- Item #: i_245490Bottle Size: 750MLVinous Media: 90Jeb Dunnuck: 91 PointsMount Eden is one of California's first truly boutique wineries. After prohibition, a gentleman by the name of Martin Ray began producing wine from this area using "obscure" grapes such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at a time when inferior grapes were the norm. His wines quickly became known as being some of the best in the state. He then sold that property and purchased a superior site "...just up the hill." That new property is Mount Eden and it is not uncommon for the Chardonnays to get critical scores somewhere between 94-96 points. In addition, they purchase a small amount of grapes from Edna Valley, a cool-climate region in California's Central Coast.
JEB DUNNUCK 91 POINTS - "The 2016 Chardonnay Edna Valley is also terrific, with a slightly more layered, textured style and less minerality than the Santa Cruz Chardonnay. Ripe orchard fruits, some tropical notes, background oak, and a medium-bodied, rich, balanced texture all make for a terrific cool climate Chardonnay to drink over the coming 7-8 years."
- Item #: i_252770Bottle Size: 750MLVinous Media: 90Jeb Dunnuck: 93 PointsJEB DUNNUCK 93 POINTS - "Starting with the appellation 2015 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast, this is a terrific, classic effort that's a great introduction into the style of the estate. Citrus blossom, honeysuckle, white flowers, and marzipan notes flow to a medium-bodied, fresh, elegant Chardonnay that still has depth, intensity, and length."
- Item #: i_266510Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 90Jeb Dunnuck: 92 PointsStonestreet Estate Vineyards stand on the western ridge of the Mayacamas Mountains towering over the Alexander Valley below. High elevations, volcanically derived soils and cooling maritime breezes give us a unique location from which to pursue the quest of mountain winegrowing. Of the 5,100 acres that make up the Estate, only 900 are planted to grapes (235 individual vineyard blocks) while the remaining land retains its natural biodiversity and abounds with streambeds and ancient oaks, providing a habitat to cougars, owls and black bears.
ANTONIO GALLONI 93 POINTS - "The 2016 Chardonnay Estate is a terrific introduction to the Stonestreet Chardonnays. Citrus, apricot, mint and a dash of new oak add nuance to this finely cut mountain Chardonnay. The Estate Chardonnay is another wine that delivers serious quality for the money. Silky and textured, the 2016 hits all the right notes. What a gorgeous wine it is."
JEB DUNNUCK 92 POINTS - "Stonestreet falls under the Jackson Family umbrella and focuses on higher elevation, mountain sites. The wines, made by Lisa Valtenbergs, are rock-solid across the board."
"The 2016 Chardonnay Estate is another wine sourced from higher elevation sites and was barrel fermented and aged. It offers a classic style in its baked apples, spice, honeycomb, and marzipan profile. Deep, medium-bodied, beautifully balanced, and textured, it's a class act and should keep for 4-6 years."