- Item #: i_249640Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 97Anybody who has been in our store asking for California Chardonnay recommendations has surely heard us mention the wines of Peake Ranch. This producer has previously been on our domestic "Top Wine" list in 2018, and judging by the newly released 2017 "Sierra Madre" Chardonnay, there's a good chance that they will be on the list this year!
Peake Ranch is a boutique, family-run winery owned by John and Gillian Wagner. Like all of us who have visited Santa Barbara County, the couple fell in love with the beautiful countryside and the friendliness of the people. They purchased Peake Ranch with a vision of building a winery and a house on the property, and producing extraordinary wines. They also bring a humbleness and sense of humility, which is honestly quite refreshing. They are already receiving rave reviews from the critics, and considering that in only their fourth vintage, this is an impressive feat!
In addition to their own property, they also get fruit from the famed Sierra Madre Vineyard, one of the most prestigious vineyards in the Santa Maria Valley! Not only does this area benefit from cool summers, but Peake Ranch's portion of the vineyard comes from a south-facing hillside comprised of sandy, well-drained soil. The Robert Young clones that grow here take advantage of the spot to become both fully ripe and at the same time retain a high level of acidity. This combines both weight, richness, and freshness, producing highly complex wines.
Winemaker Solomon studied Wine and Viticulture at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, and began making wine with Stephen Ross Winery in the Edna Valley before moving down to the Sta. Rita Hills to continue pursuing cool climate winemaking with Melville Winery. She joined the Peake Ranch team in 2018, worked with previous winemaker Paul Lato in blending the 2017 vintage, and she made the 2018 vintage hand in hand with him. Her vision for Peake Ranch is to focus on the unique attributes of this area while emphasizing balance in Californian wines.
JEB DUNNUCK 97 POINTS - "An up and coming estate readers need to check out is John and Gillian Wagner's Peake Ranch. Located on the eastern/southern side of the Sta. Rita Hills, they produce a stunning array of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrahs. Prices haven't caught up with quality, so these are still screaming values."
"Possibly the creme of the trio, the 2017 Chardonnay Sierra Madre Vineyard comes from a vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley and was fermented and aged 18 months in 50% new French oak. It offers a terrific bouquet of sauteed orchard fruits, grilled bread, crushed citrus, and toasted hazelnuts. Rich, medium to full-bodied, concentrated, and beautifully textured, it's another thrilling wine from this estate that should be snatched up by readers."
- Item #: i_251340Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91Vinous Media: 90Santa Maria Valley has as its hallmark one of the few valleys on the North and South American Pacific Coast that runs transverse to the ocean, funneling cool marine breezes inland. Set between the San Rafael Mountains to the north and the Solomon Hills to the south, this unique feature and reliable California heat produce an unusually long wine-grape growing season and "hang time" (125 days on average). The result is complex wines with intense flavors, and naturally balanced acidity.
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The 2017 Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley is shy on the nose, very slowly giving up hints of tangerine and clover honey with toast, yellow apple, honeysuckle, stone and tropical fruit notions in the background. Medium-bodied and creamy textured, it gives up creamy fruits in the mouth with juicy acidity and a long, textured finish."
ANTONIO GALLONI 90 POINTS - "The 2017 Chardonnay (Santa Maria Valley) is a pretty wine, but one that speaks in hushed tones. There is good aromatic intensity, and yet the wine is less forthcoming on the palate. Hints of lemon confit, almond, marzipan and dried flowers add nuance throughout in an understated, attractive Chardonnay to drink over the next handful of years."
- Item #: i_265410Bottle Size: 750MLThe Steele Cuvee is fermented in barrel (20% new) and stainless steel, then aged sur-lees for about eight months. Stirring the barrels regularly aids in the completion of malo-lactic fermentation, yielding complexity, depth of flavor and aroma. 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, Lolonis, has a flavor profile that leans toward apples aromas of apple crisp and cinnamon.
- Item #: i_268290Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91Vinous Media: 91Jeb Dunnuck: 94JEB DUNNUCK 94 POINTS - "Light gold-colored, the 2017 Chardonnay Estate offers a rocking bouquet of spiced apple, white peach, white flowers, and toasted bread. This carries to a medium-bodied, fleshy, beautifully balanced effort that's already drinking brilliantly."
ANTONIO GALLONI 91 POINTS - "The 2017 Chardonnay Estate is soft, open-knit and also quite understated. Lemon confit, almond and tangerine notes all develop in a pretty, gracious Chardonnay that will drink well right out of the gate. This is a decidedly quiet, subdued Chardonnay from The Hilt. Vineyard sites are 54% Bentrock, 28% Sanford & Benedict and 18% Radian."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The 2017 Chardonnay Estate, aged 11 months in 32% new French oak, features chamomile, acacia, toast, roasted almonds and crushed stone with peach, Golden Delicious apple and lemon peel scents. It's light to medium-bodied with toasty fruits, juicy acidity and a long, lively finish. 1,417 cases produced."