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_207710Bottle Size: 750MLANTONIO GALLONI 90 POINTS - "The 2016 Chardonnay (Central Coast) is absolutely delicious, not to mention one of the very finest values readers will find in California Chardonnay. Orchard fruit, floral and chamomile notes are beautifully woven together, with gentle tropical inflections that add character throughout."
- Item #: i_207720Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93+ANTONIO GALLONI 93+ POINTS - "The 2016 Chardonnay (Mt. Harlan) is a powerful, phenolic wine built on structure and intense minerality. Smoke, slate, lemon confit, white flowers and herbal notes open up in the glass, but only with great reluctance. I would prefer to cellar the 2016 for another 6-12 months, as it really needs time to come together. Even so, it is impressive at this early stage."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 93+ POINTS - "The 2016 Chardonnay Mt Harlan from Calera is excellent, wafting from the glass with notes of yellow orchard fruit, citrus blossom and blanched almonds. On the palate, it's medium-bodied, ample and elegantly textural, with lovely tension, chalky grip and a pure, stony finish. This is a beautifully balanced offering from Calera that still feels tightly coiled, and I wouldn't be surprised if my score comes to look conservative."
- 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_265410Bottle Size: 750MLSteele's Chardonnay Cuvee consistently exhibits excellent depth of flavor, wonderful acidity and complex aromas. The Santa Maria vineyards add a tropical fruit character to the wine, flavors and aroma of mango, pineapple, and papaya. The Sonoma vineyards attribute citrus character and acid to the cuvee. The Mendocino vineyard flavor profile leans toward citrus fruit, baked apples and cinnamon.
- Item #: i_268490Bottle Size: 750MLVinous Media: 93The signature white wine of Talley Vineyards, the Estate Chardonnay, represents a pure expression of the calcareous soils and cool maritime climate of the Arroyo Grande Valley produced in a classic old world style, incorporating barrel fermentation and aging. This bottling dates to the inaugural vintage of 1986 and was the first Chardonnay produced in the Arroyo Grande Valley.
Light gold in appearance, the 2016 Estate Chardonnay offers aromas of freshly churned butter with a hint of rose petal. On the palate, notes of honey-roasted peanuts lead to a rich and toasty finish. Enjoy this Chardonnay with pad thai or chicken piccata in a caper and butter sauce.
- 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."