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_275937Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93+Jeb Dunnuck: 94 PointsPeople 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:
2016 Vintage - 90-92 Points
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.
JEB DUNNUCK 94 POINTS - "A different animal, the 2017 Chardonnay Private Reserve is richer and more opulent, with Montrachet-like caramelized lemon, tropical fruits, and brioche aromas and flavors. Nevertheless, it's still more elegant and vibrant than past vintages, with medium body, a layered texture, and good acidity. I love its balance and it can be drunk any time over the coming 2-4 years, although there's no need to delay gratification."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 93+ POINTS - "The 2017 Chardonnay Private Reserve aged for ten months in 100% new French oak. It opens with beautiful creme brulee and candied ginger notes over a core of pineapple and green mango with a waft of brioche. Medium-bodied, satiny and with fantastic freshness, it delivers loads of tropical layers and great length. 8,100 cases produced, to be released in March 2019."
- Item #: i_208720Bottle Size: 750mlThe Wild Bee! The Wild Bee represents a shift in Big Table Farm's Chardonnay program. This wine takes the place of their Willamette Valley Chardonnay – only in name, label and price! Same vineyard sources, same winemaking, same barrels. The Wild Bee is a combination of all 6 sites of Chardonnay that they work with and is a fantastic representation of Willamette Valley Chardonnay for 2017.
At first blush this wine's aromatics offer up lemon custard and stone fruit. This is a clean bright expression of Chardonnay. It has a persistant white floral note that leads into warm toast and hazelnut – this all shows off the perfectly developed golden grapes that finish like a bite of perfectly ripe pear. The acid is fine and complex without any hard edges giving this wine tension to help you appreciate it's subtleties.
- 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_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.
- Item #: i_205980Bottle Size: 750mlThe wine develops like a story in the glass as you let it breathe. It begins with a combination of bright butterscotch and soft citrus. Then the notes of cream and lemon meringue pie begin to rise to the surface and are joined with toast, smoke and vanilla flavors from the oak. Floral and canned peach aromas develop last. When it all comes together, it's magic. Let the wine open up to wonderful flavors of peach, lemon zest, papaya, banana, and honeysuckle. Then buttered popcorn and vanilla oak characters emerge from the background to soften the fruit. There is a great balance of acidity and richness that makes Bread & Butter both refreshing and decadent.
- Item #: i_206040Bottle Size: 750mlWith the goal of expressing a comprehensive expression of the appellation, Brewer-Clifton selected four unique vineyard sites to create this Santa Rita Hills bottling. This blend is comprised of 3D, Machado, Acin, and Hapgood vineyards. As each vineyard has its own unique requirements, the winery manages each according to their inimitable needs rather than a macro approach to farming. Brewer-Clifton works to achieve a natrual balance between the site, the vines, the aspect and the microclimates in each vineyard, using sustainable and/or organic farming methods whenever possible
While each lot is handled separately and in a complete uniform fashion in the winery, each contributes vastly different expressions which untimately harmonize in the finished wine. Lemon, kiwi, orange blossom, and sweet basil leap from the glass, leading to jasmine, lime, ginger, and mineral flavors with a zesty finish.
- Item #: i_206210Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The 2015 Chardonnay Ribbon Ridge has a lovely nose of acacia blossom, fresh hay and wet stone over a core of red and yellow apples and lemon pith with touches of sliced almonds. Medium-bodied and lively in the mouth, it offers good layers of orchard and citrus fruit with mineral and earth notes plus toasty/nutty suggestions in the background. It's slightly creamy in the mouth with a strong frame of acidity, finishing on a honey-nut note. 350 cases produced."
- Item #: i_232390Bottle Size: 750mlOwners John and Michelle (JaM) Truchard have created quite a following in a relatively short amount of time. With the name of their wine label being called JaM, they employed the help of winemaker Rob Lloyd to produce a rich, jammy style of Cabernet. Well, that wine was a huge hit, and since Rob knew a thing or two about making Chardonnays, it only made sense that this white wine should be called "Butter". As the name implies, this is a rich, buttery style of Chardonnay laced with aromas of baked lemons and mandarin oranges mingle with a hint of spice and smoke. The palate begins with crisp pineapple, bright citrus and ripe melon while a soft creaminess rounds out the finish. This Chardonnay is ready for immediate enjoyment and is suited to a wide variety of foods including white fish, smoked salmon and creamy pasta dishes.
- Item #: i_207600Bottle Size: 750mlChardonnay grapes grown in the bottom half of the valley tend to produce rich, ripe, elegantly structured wines that are delicious on release, but also age well in the bottle; this gem is no exception! And while 75% is fermented in French oak, only 11% goes through malolactic fermentation in order to produce a full-bodied wine that's food friendly. The nose offers vivid, creamy aromas of green and golden apple, pear and citrus with supporting scents of beeswax and mineral. Full-bodied and vibrant on the palate, with bright, intense, apple, citrus and melon flavors, Cakebread's 2016 Napa Valley Chardonnay is remarkably persistent on the palate, culminating in a long finish showcasing pleasing spice, yeast and mineral tones. Released soon after bottling, it will hit its stride after 6-8 months and reward 5-7 years' aging.
- Item #: i_207710Bottle Size: 750MLTangerine, gardenia and Meyer lemon accented by Marcona almond and pear waft from this beautiful 2015 Chardonnay; succulent, bright and rich like key lime pie. The palate is flavorful, lush and lively with notes of mineral and citrus zest and a delightful zingy mouthcoating richness persisting into a long, lingering finish.
- Item #: i_208150Bottle Size: 750MLCambria's Chardonnay has been a constant favorite with consumers across the country. It is an enticing wine with good depth and range of flavors, remarkable balance, and savory finish. Cambria has carved out a reputation for producing lush, tropical Chardonnay for 20 years. This has also been a darling of wine critic Robert Parker for its excellent quality-to-price ratio.
- Item #: i_209900Bottle Size: 750mlCanoe Ridge is one of Washington State's most recognized wineries, with an estate in the Horse Heaven Hills region along the state's southern border. Their well-drain soils, cool nights, and low rainfall (about 6-8" annually) translates to excellent flavor concentration. The vineyard's latitude and south- and north-facing orientations help vines soak up more than 17 hours of sunshine per day at the peak of summer, resulting in rich, fully mature flavors and supple tannins.
Canoe Ridge's "The Expedition" lineup of wines was inspired by explorers Lewis & Clark. The mindset here was to explore the possibilities of blending some of the extra wine after crafting their flagship wines. Now, while we taste hundreds of "value" wines during the course of the year, there are very few that standout as having high quality to price rations. When we tasted these Expedition wines, we had to do a double take with the vendor; these wines absolutely rocked! The Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon were the stars of the show, and we had to immediately bring them in and share this find with our customers!
Light gold/butterscotch in color, this wine has a rich nose of lemon cream, butter, and philo dough. Flavors of roasted nuts, citrus, lemon curd, butter, and a tough of oak greet you upon entry. Rich and expressive on the palate, this wine has weight, yet still retains mouth-watering acidity to keep things fresh and lively. This really taste like it should cost more...but don't tell the winery!
- Item #: i_206960Bottle Size: 750mlCarpe Diem Chardonnay is produced in Northern California's Anderson Valley. Over the years, this region has gained the reputation of an ideal terroir to grow Chardonnay for still wines. Grapes for the Carpe Diem Chardonnay are selected exclusively from the best vineyards in Northern California's cool Anderson Valley. This fog-shrouded region not far from Mendocino Coast and the Pacific Ocean provides ideal growing conditions for these delicate grapes. Vinified under the meticulous supervision of Roederer Estate's Winemaker Arnaud Weyrich, Carpe Diem's philosophy is to offer the most discriminating wine enthusiast the best of two worlds: the richness of California fruit combined with the elegance and the complexity of a wine made in the Burgundian tradition. The result is a Chardonnay ripe with aromas and very fruity, but with limited oak expressions. Acidity levels show off the Anderson Valley climate.
Carpe Diem is ripe with aromas and very fruity, but with limited oak expressions. Acidity levels show off the Anderson Valley climate. This Chardonnay will go well with baked halibut and a lightly dressed spinach and cherry tomato orzo.
- 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_210100Bottle Size: 750mlSince its founding, Chalk Hill has been producing artisan wines from their estate vineyards in the hills of northeastern Sonoma County. For four decades they have studied, prodded and coaxed our complex terroir to ensure that their estate wines deliver vivid aromatics, commanding flavors, great character and regional accuracy. While their 300+ acres of vineyards surrounding the winery will always be the cornerstone of Chalk Hill's identity, starting with the 2011 vintage, in addition to their estate Chardonnay, Chalk Hill started producing their first Sonoma Coast Chardonnay.
This 2017 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay comes from extraordinary vineyards throughout Sonoma County consisting primarily of Foley Family estate vineyards. This Chardonnay features fruit from some of the best sites in Carneros, Chalk Hill, and ouf course, Sonoma Coast. Rich, graceful and balanced are just some of the ways to describe this 2016 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. The wine is a light golden color and exudes aromas of apple and baking spice immediately upon entering the glass. The palate has a rich textural body composed by zest and acidity with flavors of toasted hazelnut, vanilla and crème brulee. With its cool-climate influences, this Chardonnay has remarkable varietal intensity, balanced acidity and minerality that complement the rich and full flavors on the palate.
- Item #: i_225200Bottle Size: 750mlFruit-focused, it captures the bright pear, apple, citrus and stone fruit character of grapes grown in Monterey County along California’s Central Coast. Hints of floral and spice highlight the aromas and echo on the palate. Balanced flavors mingle crisp, natural acidity with a rich, creamy texture from sur lie aging. Enjoy this Chardonnay with flavors from the ocean, (crab cakes, grilled fish, prawns or scallops and angel hair pasta tossed with a cream sauce) or pour with grilled chicken or pork, creamy chowders and mushroom risotto.
- Item #: i_216050Bottle Size: 750mlChamisal was the first vineyard planted in the Edna Valley in 1973 and now contains 80 acres planted to 5 varieties and 25 clonal selections. The nearby Pacific ocean creates a long temperate growing season for exceptional hang time, which combines with the calcareous, clay-rich soil to produce fruit with exceptional intensity and complex flavors.
This is a limited selection from Clone 352 from the Chamisal Estate Vineyard, and represents the top 10 barrels of Chardonnay off their Estate. Hand picked and hand sorted before being whole cluster pressed and racked to French oak barrels for fermentation. Frequent lees stirring builds the texture and mid-palate of this wine. Full secondary fermentation completes and the wine undergoes a 14 month elevage on the lees before racking to tank and integrating the blend and finally bottling.
This bright gold Chardonnay opens with aromas of fresh pineapple, pistachio, toffee, and toasted oak. The palate bursts with bright nuances of white peach, lemon meringue, Asian pear and cinnamon toast. This is a classically luxurious Chardonnay with bright, clean fruit and a beautiful custard finish framed by excellent weight and vibrant acidity.
- Item #: i_216010Bottle Size: 750mlChamisal's 2016 Monterey County Chardonnay is vinified using traditional Burgundian winemaking techniques. This includes whole cluster pressing, barrel fermentations, batonnage, native yeast, and malolactic fermentation. They utilize press cuts to fine-tune quality and vinify in many small lots, allowing to assemble their Monterey Chardonnay with a focus on quality and richness.
This full-bodied wine exhibits classic varietal characteristics with aromas of toasted oak and creme brrlee. The entry is fruit driven with hints of lemon cream, Fuji apple, ripe pineapple and baked pear, leading to a rich and creamy mid-palate. Finishing clean with lingering acidity and broad texture, the wine is a beautiful example of Monterey County Chardonnay.