- Item #: i_200000Bottle Size: 750MLAcacia Vineyard is in the heart of the Carneros wine region, with stellar views of vineyards and the bay. This premium winegrowing region enjoys the cooling influence of the Pacific Ocean and summer fog, making it an ideal growing area for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Acacia was a pioneer in this appellation when it began in 1979 and continues to craft Burgundian-inspired varietals which have been consistently delicious beyond their price point.
And on the subject of price points, the plan with this program is to put the best and most representative of California's Chardonnay growing regions in a bottle and give it a very refreshing price. So here you have it: Monterey, Santa Maria Valley, Paso Robles, and even a touch of Carneros fruit blended together to make a really lovely sipper (someone forgot to tell the wine it shouldn't taste this good at $9.99). An exotic aroma is followed by a rainbow of stone and tropical fruits, it's bright and crisp, and the finish is long. This is one to procure by the case - people are forever dropping by!
- Item #: i_200090Bottle Size: 750mlVibrant aromas of crème brûlée, ginger, lemon curd and white peach are followed by a creamy entry which blossoms to a full, sweet, peach, nectarine and citrus mid-palate. Medium-bodied with vibrant acidity, the wine finishes long and full.
- Item #: i_200480Bottle Size: 750mlII by Alpha Omega is the culmination of the two worlds, the Alpha and the Omega, the Old World and the New World. Winemakers Jean Hoefliger and Michel Rolland worked to create a wine that is not only opulent, fruit forward and generous, but also has the backbone of European acidity and elegance. A reflection of both worlds, II is a wine that is built to be approachable, both in taste and price, and consumed early.
This Chardonnay has a pale yet brilliant white gold color with touches of green. The nose displays intense green apple, pear, vanilla and white chocolate with minerality, bubble gum and jasmine mingled with fresh flavors of pear, apricot, honeysuckle and starfruit lingering on lemon and vanilla. Full-bodied, rich, and luscious, this is the quintessential wine for California Chardonnay lovers!
- Item #: i_211290Bottle Size: 750mlThe Ancient Peaks Chardonnay vines are rooted in granitic soils along the southeast border of the vineyard, where the morning and afternoon temperatures are particularly cool. Here, brisk marine air settles after flowing through a mountain notch known as Trout Creek. These conditions provide Chardonnay fruit with the long period necessary to nurture vivid varietal character. Margarita Vineyard stands alone as the southernmost vineyard in the Paso Robles region, and as the only vineyard in the new Santa Margarita Ranch AVA. The surrounding mountain peaks act as a gateway for cool marine air, resulting in an extended growing season that yields fruit with uncommon depth and structure. The peaks are also testaments to the tectonic forces that created Margarita Vineyard’s rare diversity of soils, ultimately fostering natural complexity in their wines.
This Chardonnay offers inviting aromas of pear, fig and lime zest with a hint of apple blossom. The palate begins on a creamy note, unfolding with bright flavors of nectarine, white peach, pineapple and lemon drop. Brisk mineral accents and fresh acidity converge on a buoyant, lively finish.
2018 Chardonnay - 93 Points - Tasting Panel
- Item #: i_200730Bottle Size: 750mlLocated in the coastal foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountain Range, the vineyards selected for this Reserve Monterey County Chardonnay are consistently cooled by the marine layer funneled in from the Monterey Bay throughout the growing season. Fog that is late to burn off, and a cool midday breeze, extend hang time to allow the grapes to be picked at the peak of the fruit’s flavor and acidity.
This juicy, fruit driven Chardonnay is dominated by aromas of ripe golden apples, tropical pineapple and coconut, and zesty Meyer lemons. Not to be outdone, the luscious palate is balanced by bright acids and mild oak influence gives this wine a delicious lingering finish.
- Item #: i_200290Bottle Size: 750mlWinery's Tasting Notes: "Vibrant and rich with enticing aromatics that lead to a firm core of pear, apple and apricot flavors shaded by light spicy oak. On the palate, the wine offers layer upon layer of lingering flavors. The wine highlights varietal purity, elegance and a freshness on the palate."
- 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_200430Bottle Size: 750mlThe Los Alamos Vineyard is roughly 500 planted acres, most of which is on flat bottomland of the Los Alamos Valley that is sandwiched between the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley appellations. The best grapes from this vineyard are found to the north on the gentle slopes of the hills. Au Bon Climat sources grapes grown at the top of the wind-swept slopes of the Solomon Hills. On this hilltop the wind and shallower soils keep the yields low and the grapes struggle to ripen. Even though it is a struggle, the small crop ripens early. This is the first Chardonnay to arrive at the winery for the last 10 years. The small crop on these hardy vines is concentrated.
- Item #: i_200400Bottle Size: 750MLBurgundian in sensibility but with California style is one way of describing Jim Clendenen's Chardonnays- Structure and restraint melded with bountiful opulence is another. In the glass, buttery brioche marries with tropical fruits in an irresistible elixir that will leave the bottle drained before you know it.
- Item #: i_202940Bottle Size: 750mlThis Santa Barbara County Chardonnay is a good all around choice to satisfy a wide variety of foods. With enough structure to age for five to six years, we think this wine is most enjoyable three years after the vintage year. This is truly a Santa Barbara County blend from warmer Santa Ynez Valley to the cooler Santa Rita Hills.
- Item #: i_202570Bottle Size: 750MLJack Niven pioneered winegrape planting with Paragon Vineyard in the Edna Valley in 1973. Not the bystander type, his wife Catharine soon after began a project that grew into what is now Baileyana Winery. In the mid 1990s, their two sons, James and John, purchased property next door, and expanded Paragon Vineyard. They designed and planted these new blocks with select clones, varieties and rootstocks specific to the site. They names this section Firepeak, in homage of th extinct volcanoes in the area, and the resulting volcanic soils.
A bright but complex Chardonnay, this wine has upfront flavors of crisp pear, lemon zest, pineapple, and hints of creamy vanilla. Aromas of citrus and tropical flavors highlight the complexity of flavors that run throughout. The wine is smoothly textured and is well balanced from start to finish.
- Item #: i_207310Bottle Size: 750mlIt's not often that tank-fermented Chardonnay delivers the depth and texture of Teresa's Unoaked Chardonnay. This rich and diverse wine has bright fruit aromas and a nicely balanced mouth feel. The complex bouquet includes key lime, lemon peel, peaches and apricots. The crisp tartness complements the wine's natural viscosity and creates balance and elegance. This wine is extremely versatile with food. It's textured and plush enough to compliment rich seafood like lobster, crab and scallops, but also has a crisp acidity and fruit flavors that can pair nicely with more diverse flavors like grilled pork tenderloin with a fresh apple reduction sauce.
- Item #: i_204330Bottle Size: 750MLFor those of you who are familiar with the Benziger line, you know by now that this family produces some of the best values from Sonoma and are fanatics amongst the wine world’s Green movements. In fact, the Benziger Family has been for years working on converting their vineyards to organic practices and recently has recieved for many of their vineyards “Certified Sustainable” designations.
- 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_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_202690Bottle Size: 750mlBoen draws its profile from the varied winegrowing regions that are the most highly regarded cool-climate appellations along California's coast. This stretch of coastline is so geographically diverse that the various soil types, sub-climates, and elevations produce wines with an array of differences in character and style. To create the Boen Tri-Appellation Chardonnay, Joe Wagner blends together grapes from Sonoma County, Santa Barbara County, and Monterey County to showcase a wine that is rich in flavor, with bright aromatics and a vibrant minerality.
Crisp green apple and persimmon lead to peach skin and a stone-fruit opening. The mid-palate is lively and tropical with an undertone of delicate salinity. Boen Chardonnay ends with lovely hints of kumquat and fresh lemon custard pie. Rich and creamy, this wine resides with it's many elements. Pair this Chardonnay with welsh aged cheddar, baked tilapia, and kale salad with apples and blanched almonds.
- 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_220950Bottle Size: 750mlBonterra's organic fruit from Mendocino offers the characteristic flavors of green apples, pears, and citrus to our chardonnay. They ferment 70% of the juice in a combination of French and American oak, which is allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation to create a rich, creamy wine with just a touch of new oak spice. The remaining 30% is fermented in stainless steel to preserve the crisp fresh fruit favors. Bonterra ages most of the wine using previously-used or neutral oak in order for these fresh fruit characteristics to shine through. New oak was used for just 16% of the wine to give this Chardonnay a nice vanilla note. An initial impression of rich, buttery cream quickly turns to aromas of honey and lightly toasted almonds, followed by tropical aromas of pineapple, citrusy lemon and creme brulee. The wine is refreshing on the palate, with a minerality that is both bright and clean, drawing you into a vibrant tartness and lemon zest that is absolutely, positively Bonterra Chardonnay, vintage after vintage.
- 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: 750mlWine Spectator: 92Vinous Media: 92Jeb Dunnuck: 94There is an alluring charm to the entire Central Coast wine producing region, but it was Santa Rita Hills that called to Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton. Besides the beauty of the land, the climate and the soil compositions there was a freshness in the air as the cool Pacific Ocean breeze filtered through the canyons and subsequent vineyards planted. For many years the two farmed the land and made outstanding wine, even earning praise from top critic Robert Parker Jr: "Two brilliant young winemakers, Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton, are symbolic of both the present and future of California high quality wine production." While the winery has been sold, Greg Brewer remains on board as head winemaker ensuring the vision both himself and Steve had along with the quality of the wine doesn't change for many years to come!
With 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.
JEB DUNNICK 94 POINTS - "This is another brilliant lineup from Greg Brewer, and these Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs (as well as a terrific Syrah) are up with the finest wines in this report. These wines are never shrinking violets and have loads of fruit and texture, yet they always show singular characters, stunning balance, and weightless, elegant textures that make them a joy to drink. I think they're some of the finest Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays coming out of California today."
"Starting with the Chardonnays, the 2018 Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills is a winner and is ideal for readers looking to understand the Sta. Rita Hills as well as the style of the wines at Brewer-Clifton. Medium gold, with a great nose of Meyer lemons, caramelized orchard fruits, hints of sappy herbs, and a touch of seaside-like salinity and minerality, it's medium to full-bodied and has a rounded, elegant texture, nicely integrated acidity, and a clean, classy finish."
ANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - "The 2018 Chardonnay (Sta. Rita Hills) is vivid and expressive. Like so many of the wines here, the Chardonnay needs a good bit of air to show at its best. Once that happens, the wine's textural breadth and dimension emerge beautifully. Lemon confit, dried pear, mint and dried herbs are all laced together. This appellation Chardonnay is deep, savory and phenolic, all of which make it an excellent choice for the dinner table. It is the hidden gem in this range. Vineyard sites are 3D, Machado and Hapgood."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "The 2018 Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills has very pretty aromas of perfumed quince, pears and peaches with notes of honey and hazelnuts and a bright lemon peel lift. The light to medium-bodied palate is slow to unfold to delicate, seamlessly fresh fruits with savory bass tones and a long, lifted finish. 2,500 cases produced."
- Item #: i_206210Bottle Size: 750mlOrganically and Biodynamically farmed, the 2017 Brick House Chardonnay was grown just yards from their crush pad and wine press, thus ensuring the freshness of the fruit as it began its journey to becoming wine. The wine was barrel fermented in largely neutral French oak cooperage. It completed a full malolactic fermentation, contributing to the rich, round texture of the finished wine. The 2017 remained in barrel for twelve months and then was moved to tank for a further eight months. Bottled in May of 2019, this is a savory Chardonnay unencumbered by oak and exhibiting a hint of salinity on the nose and bright citrus and stone fruits on the palate.