- Item #: i_200330Bottle Size: 750mlThe focus of this two person operation is on small lot, single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay, as well as several other varieties uncommon in Northern Californian vineyards. Sites are carefully chosen and are generally on the cooler end of the spectrum for the planted varieties. Collaboration with dedicated and passionate growers is paramount in the farming of these sites.
Duncan and Nathan grew up around winemaking in the Napa Valley. Nathan is a second generation cooper and personally builds all of the French oak barrels that are utilized in the ageing of all Arnot-Roberts wines. Over the years Duncan has worked making wine in the Napa Valley in wineries like, Caymus, Groth, Acacia, Kongsgaard. Total production of Arnot-Roberts is around 2,000 cases per year with thirteen individual wines.
The Watson Ranch Chardonnay comes from one of the southernmost vineyards in Napa Valley AVA. The vines were planted in 1990 and dry farmed in clay over limestone with a view of San Pablo Bay. The wine was whole cluster pressed, fermented in stainless steel by native yeasts and aged in neutral French oak barrels.
- "The 2018 Chardonnay Watson Ranch is a gorgeous wine. Apricot, chamomile, dried flowers, sage and dried pear are all laced together in this super-expressive, inviting Chardonnay. Readers should be prepared to cellar the 2018, as it is quite closed today. Bright saline notes add freshness and zip to this super-expressive Chardonnay."
- Item #: i_275937Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 94People 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:
2017 Vintage - 93 Points
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 - "The classic Napa release from this estate, the 2018 Chardonnay Private Reserve has lots of beautiful golden apple, caramelized citrus, toasted nut, and hints of acacia flowers. With a rich, textured style, it still stays beautifully fresh, balanced, and layered. It's a brilliant effort."
- 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 2018 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_214030Bottle Size: 750mlWinemaker's Tasting Notes: "A long, cool growing season, ideal for cool climate varieties, delivered wines of structure, focus and shimmering elegance. Our 2018 Estate Chardonnay delights with notes of hazelnut, honeysuckle, apricot and quince. The hints of brioche and vanilla surf a wave of citrusy, bright fruit and a long, creamy finish."
- Item #: i_216814Bottle Size: 750mlBoth complex and alluring, this radiant Chardonnay opens up with aromas of pineapple, stone fruit and lime, as well as hints of white flowers and sweet French oak. On the palate, it is round and silky, with lively acidity and abundant minerality balancing the underlying richness and adding poise to the lush flavors of apple, peach and creamy lemon curd.
- 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 2018 Chardonnay displays a luminous pale gold, with green rim in the glass. A lovely nose of Meyer lemon, grapefruit zest, ginger, and fresh pineapple supported by verbena and coastal rainfall and is wonderfully complex and inviting. On the palate a delightfully broad entry leads to a viscous and rich midpalate with lovely weight. All of the richness is framed by fresh acids that complement the texture. Pineapple and Asian pears dominate the flavor profile, echoing on a long, persistent finish. Such delicious drinking now but restraint will be required if you are to realize the potential of the 2018 Chardonnay until 2030.
- Item #: i_220630Bottle Size: 750mlCoombsville's beloved Haynes Vineyard was planted upon beds of rich, volcanic alluvial soils in back in the late 1960s, making it one of the oldest Chardonnay vineyards within the Napa Valley. Old Wente clones have been grafted upon St. George rootstock. After harvest, the grapes are fermented with native yeast, which follows with full malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged for 11 months sur lies in 15% new French oak, 20% concrete egg, and 10% stainless steel.
Aromatically the wine has nuances of white flowers such as jasmine, as well as a touch of lemon curd and an underlying salinity. On the palate, the wine is beautifully full-bodied with just barely ripened stone fruits and serious longevity.
- 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_274965Bottle Size: 375ML**Please note, this is a half sized bottleBright and lively; it opens with aromas of lemon/lime zest, candied Meyer lemon, yellow nectarine, raw ginger and dried Mirabelle plum. These fresh aromas are countered by vanilla, butterscotch, spice cake and creamy butter giving rise to a vibrant and harmonious combination. The palate is crisp, mellow and full; bursting with stone fruit, green apple, and Asian pear while being laced throughout with gentle toasted oak aromas of vanilla and spice.
- Item #: i_274436Bottle Size: 750mlBright and lively; it opens with aromas of lemon/lime zest, candied Meyer lemon, yellow nectarine, raw ginger and dried Mirabelle plum. These fresh aromas are countered by vanilla, butterscotch, spice cake and creamy butter giving rise to a vibrant and harmonious combination. The palate is crisp, mellow and full; bursting with stone fruit, green apple, and Asian pear while being laced throughout with gentle toasted oak aromas of vanilla and spice.
- Item #: i_223710Bottle Size: 750mlFreemark Abbey is one of Napa's hallmark producers with a rich history dating back to pre-prohibition days. They were also one of the 12 Wineries featured in "The 1976 Judgment of Paris" tasting where California won every single category, which catapulted Napa Valley onto the world stage as a premier wine-producing region. Ted Edwards has been at the helm as winemaker for over 3 decades crafting these classically-styled wines while garnering rave reviews from the top critics year after year. This producer is also no stranger to our Hi-Time Cellars top 10 wines of the year feature we do every holiday season which should tell you how our staff feels about the level of quality, commitment and consistency!
CERTIFIED SUSTAINABLE WINERY
- Item #: i_226912Bottle Size: 750mlThis 2018 Chardonnay opens to exuberant tropical aromatics of pineapple, green mango and ripe peach, with underlying notes of dried herbs and Madagascar vanilla. With this, it bears witness to a warm growing season that saw two significant heat events. While the grapes for this wine were picked earlier than usual in order to maintain acidity and freshness, the tropical aromatics are accentuated by the warmer temperatures of this vintage. While it is nimble on the attack, this wine quickly builds into a lush and fresh mid-palate, revisiting the tropical note from earlier, as well as adding citrus and lemon zest. A balanced acidity frames this impression perfectly and carries this wine into a long and complex finish that is both harmonious and vibrant.
- Item #: i_227330Bottle Size: 750MLLong, cool fermentation in a mixture of old and new barrels gives this Chardonnay layers of fruitiness and complexity that result in a wine that is very enjoyable when young or after several years of bottle age. This method of fermentation, in conjunction with whole cluster pressing and "sur lie" aging add layers of toastiness and creaminess to the wine. Together these components meld together harmoniously to create a balanced wine that is both lively and rich in aroma and flavor.
- Item #: i_239550Bottle Size: 750mlWinery's Tasting Notes: "Our 2018 Chardonnay wants to take you on a tropical vacation as it introduces itself in a flourish of pineapple, banana and jasmine aromas. Layered with brown butter, vanilla and citrus zest, the ripe apple flavors are elegantly laced with both mineral and nutmeg oak highlights. Finishing brightly with a bit of barrel fermented creaminess, you will find this wine pairs easily with any meal. A beautiful coconut curry dish with the freshest seafood always accents the rich texture in this wine perfectly."
- Item #: i_276720Bottle Size: 750MLFull-bodied and lush, yet never heavy, Miner's Wild Yeast Chardonnay shows off flavors of ripe pear and melon with butterscotch and hazelnut notes balanced by oak spice and bright acidity. This is a wildly expressive wine that will reward a few years of patient cellaring. The grapes are fermented using only indigenous or "wild" yeast cultures found on the skins of the grapes themselves, in the vineyards and within the walls of our winery.
- Item #: i_276568Bottle Size: 750mlSourced from select low-yielding vineyards in Napa Valley, Miner's Napa Valley Chardonnay is characterized by crisp apple, ripe melon and citrus flavors gently balanced with toasty French oak. Their winemaker, Gary Brookman, uses malolactic fermentation in moderation to retain the wine’s bright acidity. More than a decade after their Chardonnay put them on the map, this wine remains a classic. Sourced from several superb vineyards, including Garvey, Krupp Brothers, and Hyde Vineyards.
- Item #: i_275870Bottle Size: 750MLPlumpjack is greatness...plain and simple. Begun in 1973 by proprietors James and Anne McWilliams, the vineyard and winery rapidly gained attention for producing dynamic, long-lived wines, with particular emphasis on the estate and reserve Cabernet Sauvignons. Their Oakville vineyard has a wide diversity of soils reflective of its special position at the base of the Vaca Range, making it a unique marriage of a hillside vineyard and a classic valley floor site.
But we would not do the winery justice if we did not mention their incredible Chardonnay. Where many California Chardonnays are aged in 100% new barrels and go through secondary fermentation, Plumpjack ferments 67% of their Chardonnay in stainless steel, and this portion of the wine does not go through the secondary fermentation. What you get is a wine that in its youth possesses striking acidity and will develop a rich, mouth-coating texture as it ages. The nose has aromas of baked apple, Bartlett Pear and banana that lead to flavors of pineapple, guava, apple cobbler and cinnamon spice cake. This fruit-driven wine finishes with a touch of vanilla custard and captures the essence of Chardonnay.
- Item #: i_252100Bottle Size: 750MLVinous Media: 93Jeb Dunnuck: 91ANTONIO GALLONI 93 POINTS - "Pride's 2018 Chardonnay is gorgeous. Bright, fresh and layered, it offers wonderful nuance and delineation from start to finish. Citrus confit, white flowers and a hint of tropical fruit all grace this pretty, mid-weight Chardonnay from Pride. The Chardonnay is a blend of fruit from Carneros and the Russian River, done in a style that emphasizes freshness and vivacity."
JEB DUNNUCK 91 POINTS - "The base 2018 Chardonnay comes 77% from Napa County and 23% from Sonoma County and had a portion of the malolactic fermentation blocked. It's another richly textured, opulent white from this team that has plenty of white currant and peach fruits as well as a touch of green almonds, honeyed lime, and white flower. Nicely textured, balanced, and with a great finish, drink this pleasure bent Chardonnay over the coming 2-4 years."
- Item #: i_275250Bottle Size: 750mlWhen creating her wines, winemaker Chrissy Wittmann always looks for fresh approaches to traditional varietals. For The Snitch, she combined Chardonnay from exceptional vineyards in warm Oak Knoll and cool-climate Carneros with just a touch of Roussanne. The result is bright and rich with an unexpected something special. Fresh tropical fruit, apple, and pear on the nose. The palate offers richness balanced by bright acidity.
- Item #: i_257540Bottle Size: 750mlStaglin Family Vineyard's SALUS wines devote one hundred percent of the sales profits to their non-profit One Mind. Salus is the Roman goddess representing psychic and bodily health and well-being, which is where the toast "Salud" or "Cheers" came from.
Through the Staglin's vision, efforts, and outreach, more than $390 million has been raised over the past two decades to support an impressive portfolio of brain health initiatives. One Mind has seeded and accelerated important work in brain science with a steadfast focus on and awareness of the urgency to deliver hope to patients and families touched by brain injury and illness.
Winemaker's Tasting Notes: "Bright and a touch precocious, the 2018 Salus Chardonnay is an aromatic delight of yellow citrus, apical golden apple and Bosc pear just past crisp with hints of honeysuckle, muskmelon and roasted almond. Balancing weight and lift, the powerful pomaceous fruit core is sheathed in light and energy, where flavors of sliced cantaloupe meet the abundant soft acids of ripe grapefruit and the smallest sprinkle of crystalized ginger."
- Item #: i_265280Bottle Size: 750MLThe name KARIA (KAR-ee-ah) is derived from the Greek word meaning graceful, and the 2015 KARIA Chardonnay lives up to its moniker. It shows how grapes from select cool-climate vineyards in southern Napa Valley can be vinified and blended into a seamless integration of fresh-fruit aromas and flavors, crisp acidity and subtle oak spice. Light and graceful: that's KARIA.
This is a graceful Chardonnay with generous aromas of Asian pear, honeydew melon and lime along with a touch of hazelnut and vanilla oak. Medium-bodied, the wine has a silky texture and mid palate leading to a soft finish with a touch of creamy oak. Try pairing this Chardonnay with grilled chicken with lemon aioli, grilled salmon with a cucumber, tomato and fresh dill salsa or roast chicken breast stuffed with spinach and feta cheese.