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_275980Bottle Size: 750MLThe Educated Guess Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is 100% barrel fermented and is all about balance. The cool coastal influence provides rich acidity and delicious tropical fruit flavors, while the barrel fermentation lends itself to creamy toasted notes of spice and vanilla. Very food friendly and crowd pleasing!
- Item #: i_218740Bottle Size: 750MLEl Molino was established back in 1871. The winery, along with the historic label, was resurrected in 1981 by Reg Oliver who focused on incomparable Chardonnay and distinctive Pinot from an appellation admittedly more famed for Cabernet Sauvignon. He left a legacy of environmental stewardship and enthusiasm for Burgundy varietals that has not been lost on his daughter Lily and her husband, Jon Berlin (Jon & Lily pictured top right). Lilly moved to the winery with the family when she was nine, and since child labor was never frowned upon, there was a lot to be learned by the age-old tradition of apprenticeship under her father. Lily uses these time-honored techniques to fashion a Chardonnay of impeccable balance that can age for decades!
El Molino's 2016 Rutherford Chardonnay displays rich complex fruit aromatics with ruby grapefruit, key lime, and lemon oil to the fore, supported by wet slate, green apple, and white flowers. On the palate the entry is plush and broad with excellent viscosity and great acidity. Full flavored and rich the flavors are long and persistent on the finish. This may prove to be one of their longest lived Chardonnays, although much willpower will be required as it is drinking beautifully now.
- Item #: i_218560Bottle Size: 750mlNow mostly comprised of Stiling Vineyard fruit, winemaker Kent Humphreys chose to pick this vineyard in several stages to provide both ripeness and natural acidity. A small 4% addition of Fallenleaf Vineyard (new to the blend) lends the Old Wente clone's custardy bass notes while another 4% of Green Acres Vineyard Hyde clone contributes both texture and verve.
While this packs all the hallmark flavors of the exotic Rued clone (white flowers, peach and citrus oil) there's also a sense of grace on the palate. Buoyed by a hand-in-glove selection of oak barrels, we're smitten with this rendition. We absolutely love the freshness found in this vintage, and while it will be tempting to drink young it should age beautifully for years.
- Item #: i_218950Bottle Size: 750mlHistory runs deep at this 17-acre vineyard on Vine Hill Road in the heart of the Russian River Valley. Back in the 1960s, Sonoma County legend Duff Bevill planted the parcel to the old Clone 4 of Chardonnay. These grapes still grow today, though now the owners are Dennis and Mary Black, and the land is called Black Emerald Vineyard. Because this vineyard is dry-farmed, raising the canopy away from the heat of the ground during the day helps moderate the cluster temperature. At night, this strategy also helps keep clusters dry.
Only 215 cases were produced of this wine, which displays decadent aromas of sweet pears, melons and candied apples precede a balanced acidity akin to pineapple that freshens the notes of orange marmalade, ripe citrus and tree fruits on the palate. Sweet and sour tones are met in measure with a light caramel beeswax texture and bright notes of Meyer lemon and ripe apples on the finish.
- Item #: i_232540Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 93Seven Springs Vineyard was planted in 1984 by Al MacDonald on an east-facing slope, in the iron-rich and rocky, volcanic soils of the Eola-Amity Hills. Al planted what would become one of Oregon's most recognized vineyards who sold fruit to many benchmark Oregon producers. The vineyard's position opposite of the windy Van Duzer Corridor mitigates hot, sunny afternoons in the Willamette Valley with cool winds from the Pacific. As valley temperatures increase throughout the day, warm air rises, replaced by cooling winds flooding in from the Pacific through the Van Duzer gap and across the vineyard providing extended hang time at harvest. The vineyard has always been dry farmed, it's certified LIVE and was converted to biodynamic viticulture in 2007.
At the helm of Seven Springs is Rajat Parr, world renowned wine sommelier and Sashi Moorman, known for his passion for winemaking and viticulture. Together, these two bring an insurmountable amount of knowledge leading Seven Springs into its 4th decade producing outstanding wines at an affordable price point!
WINE SPECTATOR 93 POINTS - "Graceful and elegantly complex, with alluring Meyer lemon and green apple flavors accented by wet stone and sweet anise notes on a lingering finish. Drink now through 2021. 1,019 cases made."
- Item #: i_274300Bottle Size: 750mlThe Chardonnay estate is a barrel selection. Since each barrel ferments with its own yeast and ages at its own rate, each barrel becomes very distinct. Before bottling, Jason tastes each barrel. Those barrels which speak to the longest aging potential become the Original Vines Reserve. This estate, on the other hand, is blended from those barrels which offer the most immediate pleasure.
- Item #: i_220750Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 92 PointsANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "The 2016 Chardonnay Platt Vineyard shows why this Sonoma Coast site is so highly regarded. Translucent and energetic in the glass, the 2016 speaks to finesse above all else. Lemon peel, white flowers, mint and white pepper are all beautifully lifted. Bright, saline notes extend the finish. Simply put, the Platt is sublime."
JEB DUNNUCK 92 POINTS - "The first vintage for this cuvee, the 2016 Chardonnay Platt Vineyard is another complex, savory effort that has racy, marine-influenced notes of tart citrus, leafy herbs, and crushed rocks. It's steely and acid-driven at the moment, but has mid-palate density and outstanding length. Give it a year or two."
- Item #: i_220680Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 92 PointsJEB DUNNICK 92 POINTS - "The 2017 Chardonnay Keefer Ranch comes from a well-known site in the Russian River Valley. It has a touch of good reduction as well as notes of crushed citrus, charcoal, graphite, and obvious minerality. Pure, elegant, and vibrant, with the racy style of the vintage, enjoy it over the coming 7-8 years."
- Item #: i_220760Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 94 PointsJEB DUNNUCK 94 POINTS - "The 2017 Chardonnay Platt Vineyard is one of the more intense, powerful wines and is certainly one of my favorites in the lineup. Exotic orange blossom, orchard fruits, charcoal, and white flower notes give way to a medium-bodied, racy, vibrant Chardonnay that has good concentration and depth as well as length. This is classic Sonoma Coast Chardonnay!"
- Item #: i_220610Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 91 PointsJEB DUNNUCK 91 POINTS - "Made in relatively good quantities, the 2017 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast is a beautiful, medium-bodied, charming effort that’s loaded with notions of apple blossom, honeysuckle, spice, and just a touch of minerality. It has terrific purity of fruit and is a gem of a wine to enjoy over the coming 4-6 years or so. It’s also a great introduction to the style of the estate. "
- Item #: i_219930Bottle Size: 750MLAlways the "darling" of Chardonnays, Far Niente Chardonnay is a blend of superlative Napa Valley vineyards, many of which are located in a little-known area called Coombsville: a cool growing region nestled in the rolling hills east of thecity of Napa. While entirely barrel-fermented, it doesn't go through the typical secondary fermentation, thus keeping itsrefreshing acidity. Perhaps this is why it appeals to such a broad spectrum of consumers!
Classic Far Niente style with aromas of grilled citrus, melon and honeysuckle with hints of white fig, gardenia and toasted hazelnuts, background of mild toasted oak that adds supportive warmth and richness. A silky entry builds on the palate with a rich texture that continues to evolve. Possessing great structure and length, a sweet core of melon and citrus is supported by white floral and toasted vanilla and baking spice notes. The broad mid palate comes back together with a long bright finish.
- Item #: i_220510Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 91WINE SPECTATOR 91 POINTS - "Unctuous, rich and buttery, with concentrated ripe pear, baked apple and pastry flavors that feature some tropical fruit accents. Silky finish. Drink now through 2021."
It would be hard to hear the name Ferrari- Carano and not think of world-class wine. From a small, 30-acre plot of grapes purchased in 1979, to today’s 1,500 acres in six different appelations, Ferrari-Carano owns some of the finest properties in all of California. Their wines are recognized by the critics and are listed on the menus of some of the finest restaurants in the world. While tasting through the current lineup at a recent luncheon, it was their Reserve Chardonnay that truly garnered the limelight.
Coming from their property in Carneros, the long, cool growing season matures the fruit slowly, giving it plenty of time to gain in richness and depth while retaining a higher acidity and tighter structure than fruit in warmer climate. Combine this with the wine’s aging in a high percentage in new oak, and you get a Chardonnay that is both fresh, lively, yet rich and decadent. This wine entices with aromas of quince, apple, cinnamon, caramel, citrus, butter, vanilla, and graham cracker complemented by elegant, upfront flavors of pear, peach, and a lingering, toasted oak finish.
- Item #: i_220440Bottle Size: 750mlOwner and winemaker Matt Courtney started Ferren after an eight-year apprenticeship with Helen Turley at Marcassin Vineyard. The wines are made using traditional Burgundian methods without fining or filtration, and native yeasts on the grapes from the vineyards perform fermentations. Matt Courtney was featured in a full page picture in the Wine Spectator for their first release and got some great attention. This is on the winelist at the French Laundry, Meadowood, Solage, and the wines are very limited!
Excellent bouquet, this opens beautifully on the palate with Asian pear, stone fruits, nice energy and structure, really nice acidity on the finish, long complex. A blend of Frei, Silver Eagle and Lancel Creek vineyard and only 10% new French oak.
- Item #: i_249370Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 90Named 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 92 POINTS - "The 2017 Chardonnay Ashley's is super-expressive. Lemon confit, white flowers, mint and white pepper all grace this open-knit, beautifully resonant Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay. Rich and unctuous on the palate, yet with terrific floral lift and brightness, the Ashley's is a winner in this range from Fess Parker."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 90 POINTS - "Shy on the nose with toast and smoke to begin, the 2017 Chardonnay Ashley's Vineyard slowly opens to lemon pith, Red Delicious apple, dried hay and white apricot. It's citrusy and minerally in the mouth and light to medium-bodied, with juicy acidity and a textured finish."
- Item #: i_249210Bottle Size: 750mlSince 1989 the Parker family-owned and -operated winery has produced wines of superior quality and value. This handcrafted wine represents the best of what Santa Barbara County Chardonnay has to offer. Flavors of ripe apple, butter, lemon, and melon are perfectly balanced with light toasty oak on the palate.
- Item #: i_220150Bottle Size: 750mlThis bottling is sourced entirely from Flowers' organic and biodynamically farmed Camp Meeting Ridge Estate Vineyard. Planted in 1991, these "older" vines are producing some of their most exciting and interesting Chardonnays today. Given the extremes of this site, each small block ripens at its own pace.
With a brilliant golden hue, lively aromas of lemon verbena, lime zest, honey suckle, chamomile, and citrus blossom dominate the distinctive nose. The palate is precise and focused, driven by mouthwatering acidity and framed by flinty, coastal minerality – a vivid expression of Flowers' Estate vineyard.
- Item #: i_220170Bottle Size: 750MLThe dramatic landscape of the Sonoma coast, with its steep hillsides and windswept foothills, gives Flowers a diverse profile of well-draining soils, while direct proximity to the Pacific Ocean results in a long, cool growing season. These extreme coastal conditions allow Flowers to produce a layered Chardonnay with bright fruit focus, complex minerality and crystalline acidity. Flowers' Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is sourced from a small selection of family-owned sites, including their own estate Camp Meeting Ridge Vineyard.
Medium yellow in color, this wine displays aromas of straw, lemon verbena, and honey suckle that mingle with layers of lemon meringue and lychee. Upon entry are flavors of lemon curd, honeydew, and hints of star fruit and wet stone, balanced with a touch of fine grained tannin. The crisp finish is countered with a spicy note of white pepper and lingers with coastal minerality.
- Item #: i_238710Bottle Size: 750mlDelightfully elegant floral notes of orange blossom, linden, and honeysuckle awaken your senses. Flavors are fresh and inviting on the palate with bright minerality complemented by zippy tangerine fruit. Soft oak notes linger on the finish with flavors of nutmeg, vanilla and toasted pecans. This 2016 has enough body to stand up to a wide array of foods and the balance to drink well on its own.
- Item #: i_222170Bottle Size: 750mlAromas are concentrated and complex in Foley Johnson's 2017 Carneros Chardonnay. Notes of grilled peach, pear, buttered croissant, and vanilla set the stage for a rich, and full-bodied Chardonnay. The aromas expand on the palate with mouthwatering flavors of pear, apple crisp, honeysuckle, toasted coconut, and vanilla wafer. This wine's balance and structure coupled with its bright acidity makes it an age-worthy wine to be enjoyed for several years. Enjoy this beauty with a succulent roasted chicken and wild mushroom risotto.
- 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_222700Bottle Size: 750mlFoxen has been producing wines since the mid '80's in Northern Santa Barbara County. Founders Bill Wathen and Dick Dore's vision has always been the same since the start; sustainably-farmed, vineyard-focused wines using a straightforward and minimalist approach to winemaking. The wines they produce always display beautiful balance, great texture with layers of nuances and this 2014 Bien Nacido Vineyard Block UU Chardonnay fits that statement "To a T"!
ANTONIO GALLONI 93 POINTS - "Foxen's 2017 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard Block UU is creamy, supple and expressive, with striking depth and nuance. In 2017, the Block UU has an extra kick of texture that is hugely appealing. Lemon confit, orchard fruit and chamomile all grace this compelling and wonderfully inviting Chardonnay from Foxen. What a pretty wine this is."