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_210160Bottle Size: 750MLWINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The 2016 Chardonnay Estate is scented of ripe Bosc pears, fresh apple slices and nutmeg with hints of peach kernels, lightly browned toast and struck flint. Medium to full-bodied, the palate offers plenty of apple and pear goodness, with a satiny texture and lively line, finishing creamy."
- Item #: i_249370Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 91 PointsNamed after Fess' daughter, Ashley, this Chardonnay represents the best of the acclaimed Sta. Rita Hills growing region. The majority of the grapes come from a vineyard developed by the Parker family in 1996 situated only 12 miles from the Pacific Ocean. This hillside sites, sandy soils, persistent ocean breezes and fog make for a cold growing environment; the perfect scenario for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. This wine shows pear, green apple, citrus, and lemon cream flavors complemented by attractive mineral notes with vanilla and toasty oak notes.
ANTONIO GALLONI 93 POINTS - "The 2016 Chardonnay Ashley's is generous and resonant on the palate. Orange peel, lemon confit, spice and new French oak (34%) shape a broad, creamy Chardonnay that will drink well with minimal cellaring."
JEB DUNNUCK 91 POINTS - "The 2016 Chardonnay Ashley's is another Sta. Rita Hills release and spent 9 months in 34% new French oak. Its medium gold color is followed by a spicy, toasty Chardonnay that has classic orchard fruits and white flower aromas, a core of sweet fruit, medium body, and a juicy finish. It's a total charmer to enjoy over the coming 4-5 years."
- Item #: i_223550Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91Jeb Dunnuck: 91 PointsJEB DUNNUCK 91 POINTS - "The 2016 Chardonnay FRV Fort Ross Vineyard is a beauty. Clean, classic, and medium-bodied, with good acidity as well as notes of buttered orchard fruits and spice, it has plenty of fruit, good balance, and a classic Chardonnay profile."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The 2016 Chardonnay Fort Ross Vineyard gives up notions of warm applesauce, poached pears and honey toast with a waft of lemon peel. The palate is medium-bodied with appealing freshness and plenty of spicy stone fruit and apple flavors, finishing on a honey-nut note. 508 cases produced."
- Item #: i_228340Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93Wine Spectator: 92ROBERT PARKER 93 POINTS - "The 2006 Chardonnay (4,600+ cases) was 80% tank-fermented with no malolatic, and 33% spent 18 months in barrel. It possesses lovely white peach, pear, and crushed rock characteristics, full body, splendid acidity as well as purity, and a gracious integration of subtle oak. This beautiful white can be enjoyed over the next 5-6 years."
WINE SPECTATOR 92 POINTS - "Flinty, with a tight beam of mineral, white peach, nectarine, green apple and lime flavors that are concentrated, keeping the focus on the vibrant fruit. Drink now through 2014. 3,253 cases made."
- Item #: i_231150Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 95Nestled in the rolling hillsides of the Carneros growing region, Lee Hudson has some of the most amazing vineyards we have ever seen! His list of clients who purchase Hudson Vineyard fruit include Arnot Roberts, Bedrock, Cakebread, Duckhorn, Kistler, Kongsgaard, Lewis, Neyers, Nickel & Nickel, Orin Swift, Patz & Hall, and Ramey. The individual blocks within the vineyards are sites of intense varietal distinctiveness.
The wine fermented slowly in French oak barrels with the wild yeasts finishing fermentation early in the new year and malolactic following soon after. Somehow, Hudson Chardonnay has the ability to be rich and decadent, yet retains fresh acidity, vibrancy, and minerals.
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "This is comprised of a blend of four different vineyards from Hudson’s Home Ranch and Henry Road Ranch, all planted to Shot Wente clone. It was barrel fermented with natural yeast in French oak, 60% new, and aged for 12 months in barrel. The 2016 Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard opens with wonderfully gregarious honeyed peaches, ripe pears and candied ginger notes plus touches of almond croissant, beeswax and orange blossoms. Medium to full-bodied, the palate reveals the most seductive satiny texture, packed with layers of stone fruit and savory flavors, finishing very long and very spicy. 901 cases were made."
- Item #: i_233900Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 91ROBERT PARKER's WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The 2017 Chardonnay gives fragrant jasmine, honeysuckle, white peaches and clotted cream on the nose with an almond croissant and beeswax undercurrent. The palate is medium-bodied, elegant, fresh and satiny textured with a long and fragrant finish."
- Item #: i_236870Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 92 PointsANTONIO GALLONI 93 POINTS - "The 2015 Chardonnay Golden Slope captures an attractive stylistic middle ground that expresses notable textural richness and creaminess while retaining a good bit of aromatic nuance. Orchard fruit, wild flowers and a touch of reduction add complexity."
JEB DUNNUCK 92 POINTS - "The 2015 Chardonnay Golden Slope is much more classic Chardonnay in style, with textbook stone fruits, brioche, toasted bread and white flower aromatics. Rich, medium-bodied, nicely textured and concentrated and balanced, drink it anytime over the coming decade or more."
- Item #: i_236780Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91Liquid Farm's "White Hill" bottling is the leaner and more Chablisiane of their two Chardonnay bottlings. Comprised of fruit from some of the best vineyards in the area, White Hill highlights the unique salinity that comes through in the ancient soils of Santa Rita Hills. The style of this wine will always be racier and predominately neutral barrel fermentation. Its profile is that of mineral, yellow peach, fresh Asian pear, salinity, linen, candied ginger, and lavender cream.
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "There are fully 1,200 cases of the 2016 Chardonnay White Hill, Liquid Farm's largest bottling, which offers up a crisp bouquet of white peach, citrus pith, smoke and faint reduction. On the palate, the wine is bright and medium-bodied, with racy acids and nice tension, but concluding with a somewhat fluid finish that depresses my score a touch."
- Item #: i_245230Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93This is the personal label of Luc Morlet and his wife Jodie. From 1996-2000 Luc made the wines at Newton, where he helped to craft their Unfiltered Chardonnay, a favorite among collectors. He then became the head winemaker for Peter Michael Winery and crafted their wines from the 2001-2005 vintages, where his wines earned up to 99 points!
Located on the Sonoma Coast, on the second ridge from the ocean, this unique hillside vineyard benefits from both the cool maritime breeze and the mild and sunny mountain climate, creating ideal conditions for the Chardonnay. Handcrafted by classical Burgundian techniques, this wine is dedicated to Luc's wife, Jodie Morlet. It is "My Sweet" or "Ma Douce."
ROBERT PARKER 93 POINTS - "The 2014 vintage, a drought year with abundant yields, rendered some beautiful Chardonnays from Morlet. The 2014 Chardonnay Ma Douce has considerable structure, a floral nose with loads of lemon custard, poached pear, subtle toast and a hint of white peach. It certainly has the structure to evolve for a decade or more. This seemed more closed than when I tasted it from barrel last year."
ANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - "The 2014 Chardonnay Ma Douce is bright, nuanced, with an intriguing interplay of intense pineapple notes and a distinct, salty note that perks up the flavors. The 2014 is quite reticent and tightly wound at this stage."
- Item #: i_248780Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93Jeb Dunnuck: 96 PointsLet's be honest, when you have such notables as Randy Dunn, Helen Turley, Erin Green, and Michel Rolland having worked for a winery, you know great things are afoot! Jayson Pahlmeyer and his crew have worked hard for 30 years to produce the best Cabernets, Merlots, Pinot Noirs, and Chardonnays they possibly could, and they have succeeded year after year! The Pahlmeyer wines are highly sought after, receive lofty scores, and are coveted by consumers and collectors alike.
This year, it is their Napa Valley Chardonnay garnering the spotlight! Coming from Pahlmeyer's estate high on Atlas Peak, the vineyard ranges in elevation from 1,500 to 2,100 feet. The vineyard was planted by Davis Abreu, whose skilled hand has also worked with Screaming Eagle, Staglin, and Harlan. This site is rocky and desolate, with low vigor and good drainage; perfect for grapes!
JEB DUNNUCK 96 POINTS! "Bottled in August, the 2017 Chardonnay Napa Valley offers Aubert-like notes of white flowers, white peach, tangerine, flower oil, and white flowers. It's rich, layered, so pure and balanced, and is just a class act as well as one of the top Chardonnays in this report."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS! "...the 2017 Chardonnay gives very pretty white peaches, pink grapefruit, honey-drizzled pears and lime blossoms with touches of nutmeg, marzipan and baker's yeast. The palate is medium-bodied with a slight, very pleasant phenolic grip to the texture and bags of stone fruit and pear layers, finishing on a lovely savory note."
ANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - "Pahlmeyer's 2017 Chardonnay (Napa Valley) is a pretty, very supple wine. Orchard fruit, chamomile, sage, mint and apricot are nicely pushed forward in this open-knit, creamy Chardonnay. Beautifully balanced and racy, the 2017 has a lot to offer. The Napa Valley Chardonnay is a blend of fruit from the estate and Antinori's Antica property on Atlas Peak. This is an attractive wine, especially within the context of the vintage."
- Item #: i_230460Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 96ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS - "The 2015 Chardonnay Richard Dinner Vineyard sports vivacious tropical fruit notes of warm pineapple, green guava and mango with touches of baker's yeast, cashew paste, pie crust and ginger. Medium to full-bodied, the palate reveals a cornucopia of tropical fruit flavors, restrained by plenty of savory accents and finishing with great freshness and depth. 474 cases were made."
- Item #: i_257970Bottle Size: 750MLThe Gamble Ranch Chardonnay is a big and rich style of Chardonnay in every vintage. It sees 100% new French oak barrels that are medium toasted from two cooperages. After 100% malolactic fermentation the wine remains in barrel sur lies and is stirred (batonnage) once a week while it is in barrel. This aids in the development of the Gamble’s signature rich mouthfeel, crème brulee, and butterscotch qualities. Each vintage of the Gamble exhibits an orange or orange peel quality that balance out the wine in its flavor profile. The finish might be another hallmark of this wine. It tends to linger on the palate.
- Item #: i_266500Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 95This is not the first time that Stonestreet Chardonnay has been on our Top North American White wine list, but when we tasted the Upper Barn bottling at the winery, the group was pretty unanimous that we had to get our hands on every bottle we could and put it on our list! Stonestreet’s 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 winemaker Lisa Valtenbergs a unique location from which to pursue the quest of mountain winegrowing. With the soils being rich in iron, warm days, and cooling nights, Lisa produces Chardonnay of exceptional concentration, purity and depth. The majority of this bottling is produced from the Hyde-Wente clone of Chardonnay, which, in our opinion, produces the more complex and nuanced Chardonnays on the market today!
WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "The 2015 Chardonnay Upper Barn Vineyard opens with lovely grapefruit, fresh pears and apple pie notes with touches of croissant and toasted almonds plus a waft of brine. Medium-bodied, very elegant and very refreshing, the palate and a wonderfully mineral character and long, beautifully nuanced finish. 1,025 cases were made."
- 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."
- Item #: i_238030Bottle Size: 750MLJames Suckling: 92ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 92 POINTS - "(20% new French oak) Light bright yellow. Pungent mineral-accented Meyer lemon and pear nectar scents show very good clarity and hints of fennel and smoky lees. Minerally and focused in the mouth offering sappy citrus and orchard fruit flavors along with deeper buttered toast and melon nuances that build on the back half. Finishes supple smoky and very long with a sexy honeysuckle nuance hanging on."
- Item #: i_268420Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 94 PointsRosemary's Vineyard is located on a hillside surrounding Rosemary Talley’s home, and is characterized by white, rocky fractured sandstone and loam, with some clay in the subsoil. Rosemary's is steep, very well-drained, and because it is closer to the ocean, slightly cooler. Entirely hand-harvested, this was 100% barrel-fermented and aged for 15 months, yet there is no evidence of heaviness.
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 95 POINTS - "(20% new French oak) Limpid yellow-gold. A highly complex bouquet evokes ripe tangerine, green apple, pineapple, Anjou pear and pungent flowers; iodine and fennel accents emerge as the wine opens up. Sappy, penetrating citrus and orchard fruit flavors convey both power and delicacy. Smoky lees and mineral notes build steadily on a very long, silken, finely etched finish that emphatically repeats the floral and pear notes."
JEB DUNNUCK 94+ POINTS - "One of the gems in the lineup is the 2016 Chardonnay Rosemary's Vineyard, which comes from a cool, chalky, shale site in the Arroyo Grande Valley and spent 15 months in 20% new French oak. This medium-bodied, pure, vibrant beauty has everything. Complex notes of white flowers, white peach, honeyed apples, and a distinct salty minerality all give way to a perfectly balanced, layered Chardonnay that's going to continue gaining complexity over the coming 2-3 years and will keep for 7-8 years after that."
- Item #: i_268240Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94To understand the wines made by The Hilt, one might need to come visit the hard and harsh conditions under which they are born. The unobstructed, oceancooled, east-west valley known as Sta. Rita Hills is a difficult yet rewarding area to grow grapes. The Salsipuedes Ranch (which contains three of The Hilt's vineyards) is located in the northern-facing, closest-to-the-ocean, windswept quadrant. These sites are the worst places for a grape grower but the best ones for a winemaker. The ranch is a unique, large and sprawling property that offers a range of altitudes, aspects, soil typesº and microclimates, giving winemaker Matt Dees a patchwork of vineyard parcels from which to select grapes and create wines with distinctive styles. The property, however, does have some aspects that remain consistent: the land has poor soils that force vines to dig deep; there are powerful, whipping winds and a cold maritime climate that allow grapes on the property to ripen slowly and retain acidity despite the warm daytime sun; and the vines on the property are low in vigor, allowing them to produce low yields of concentrated, complex grapes. With these grapes, The Hilt’s Chardonnay earned a whopping 94 point score from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate!
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "Showing a touch of brioche in its ripe orchard fruits, toasted bread, sweet peach and white flower bouquet, the 2014 Chardonnay Vanguard is medium-bodied, fresh, layered and focused, with lively acidity and a pure, elegant style. Give bottles a year in the cellar and enjoy over the following 5-7 years."
- Item #: i_276518Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 96+ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 96+ POINTS - "This wine comes from a single three-acre Chardonnay vineyard introduced to Tor Kenward by Larry Hyde in 2008. It belonged to one of Larry Hyde's oldest friends in the Napa Valley, Steve Beresini, and was planted three decades ago with cuttings Larry gave Steve. This is now referred to as "Hyde Selection Wente Clone." Today it produces a minuscule crop, usually between one and two tons per acre, with clusters half the normal size. Primary coopers are Saury and three-year dry aged Francois Freres. The 2017 Chardonnay Beresini Vineyard Cuvee Torchiana opens with lifted lemon, lime and mandarin scents with fresh pears and ginger plus croissant notions. The palate is big, rich, full-bodied, decadent, lively and hedonistic, with spicy and savory layers and a very, very long finish. 314 cases produced."