- Item #: i_200290Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The 2018 Chardonnay Mountain Select features fresh Bosc pears, ripe nectarines and lemon curd notes with touches of lime leaves and hay. Medium-bodied, elegant and lively in the mouth, it has a restrained, understated character and chalky finish."
- 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_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_208720Bottle Size: 750mlThe Wild Bee! The Wild Bee represents a shift in Big Table Farm's Chardonnay program. This wine takes the place of their Willamette Valley Chardonnay – only in name, label and price! Same vineyard sources, same winemaking, same barrels. The Wild Bee is a combination of all 6 sites of Chardonnay that they work with and is a fantastic representation of Willamette Valley Chardonnay for 2019.
At first blush this wine's aromatics offer up lemon custard and stone fruit. This is a clean bright expression of Chardonnay. It has a persistant white floral note that leads into warm toast and hazelnut – this all shows off the perfectly developed golden grapes that finish like a bite of perfectly ripe pear. The acid is fine and complex without any hard edges giving this wine tension to help you appreciate it's subtleties.
- Item #: i_206040Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 92Vinous Media: 92Jeb Dunnuck: 94 PointsThere is an alluring charm to the entire Central Coast wine producing region, but it was Sta. Rita Hills that called to Greg Brewer. For 30 years, winemaker Greg Brewer has been honing his skill of crafting impeccable wines from Santa Barbara County, with a specific focus on the Sta. Rita Hills sub-AVA. In fact, Greg Brewer helped to map and define the Sta. Rita Hills area in 1997, which helped its official approval in 2001.
The geographic, geologic and climatic uniqueness of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation provides an ideal place to grow Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes of intensity, complexity and specificity. Within this appellation, each vineyard carries its own imprint. The mission at Brewer-Clifton, and indeed their passion, is to present wines that convey the characteristics inherent to each of these sites, with uncompromising quality.
Brewer-Clifton is now using 100% Estate Grown grapes, and they do not purchase grapes from other owners. This makes certain that every attention to detail can be ensured, and only the highest quality grapes enter through the winery doors, and they use sustainable and/or organic farming methods whenever possible.
Greg has been named Winemaker of the Year by Wine Enthusiast, and respected wine critic Jeb Dunnuck has stated that these are, "some of the finest Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays coming out of California today". On top of that, this bottling just received 94 points from Jeb Dunnuck...and selling for under $30 a bottle! If you enjoy the Chardonnays from Santa Barbara County, then this is a no-brainer!
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.
- Item #: i_212020Bottle Size: 750MLThe cool growing region of Carneros allows Clos Pegase to keep the verve and complexity in their Chardonnay and delivers just the right amount of naturally bright acidity that works well when paired with the finest French oak. Clear lemon yellow in the glass. Upfront aromas of peach, melon, cut straw and bakers spice. A smooth delivery on the palate displays flavors of stone fruit, cantaloupe and pears with subtle notes of brioche and toasted coconut. The acid is bright and maintains a pleasant balance in the wine.
- Item #: i_215510Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 92Vinous Media: 91Jeb Dunnuck: 91 PointsDierberg has been on a roll the past few years! Dierberg sells much of their fruit to other wineries, but they have begun to keep some of the better sections of the vineyard for themselves. That being said, their own label hasn't skipped a beat, and is receiving the same high scores as their customers!
Located 13 miles from the Pacific Ocean in one of the coolest wine-growing corners of California's Central Coast, Dierberg Vineyard is on the western edge of Santa Barbara County's Santa Maria Valley appellation, which is world-renowned for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Their vineyard is planted to newer "Dijon" clones, as well as other "heritage clones" whose roots go back to the Burgundy area of France, offering a clonal diversity unlike almost any other Chardonnay vineyard in California. Last year's 93-point Chardonnay was a huge hit at our store, and this Pinot Noir is a great follow up!
This wine has the personality of many Chardonnay's from Burgundy's Macon region; baked apple, plenty of lively acidity and freshness, good body, and low to moderate use of new oak (about 20%). This is an amazing deal in California Chardonnay, earning 92 points from both Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and Antonio Gallino's Vinous Media...so grab this while it's still here!
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "The 2016 Chardonnay Dierberg Vineyard, aged 15 months in 20% new oak, has a nose of honey toast, baked golden apple, wet hay, earth, white peach and almonds plus a tinge of creme fraiche. The palate is medium-bodied with a silky texture, very lively acidity and a long, nutty finish. 2,675 cases produced."
ANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - "The 2016 Chardonnay Dierberg Vineyard is rich, ample and super-expressive. Lemon confit, pineapple, lime and tropical notes infuse this lush Chardonnay with plenty of character. Supple, open-knit and inviting, the 2017 is best enjoyed over the next handful of years."
JEB DUNNUCK 91 POINTS - "The 2016 Chardonnay Dierberg Vineyard (10 months in 30% new French oak) reveals a lighter gold color as well as a terrific bouquet of white currants and orchard fruits, brioche, spice, and hints of toasted bread. With medium body, a rounded, nicely textured style, good balance, and a great finish, drink it over the coming 4-6 years."
- Item #: i_216330Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 92Vinous Media: 92Mount Eden has a long and glorious history. Originally planted by a man named Martin Ray, many of the original Mount Eden Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays are some of the best renditions California has ever produced! Flash-forward to the present, and the wines are just as good as they always were. In addition to their estate wines, they produce a second wine called Domaine Eden. Sourced from a well-maintained vineyard just one mile away from their estate, Mount Eden utilizes the same exacting methods for their estate wines: natural indigenous fermentations - both primary and secondary, French Burgundy barrels, no fining, filtration or any other manipulation.
ANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - "The 2017 Chardonnay is absolutely gorgeous. Apricot, tangerine oil, butter and light tropical accents give the 2017 striking exotic character that match its rich oily personality so well. This is a decidedly extroverted wine from Domaine Eden, but it all works so well. There is a feeling of immediacy and allure that makes the 2017 impossible to resist. The Domaine Eden Chardonnay is a blend of declassified barrels (64%) and lots from the Domaine Eden property itself (36%), aged in 2-5 year old wood."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "The 2017 Chardonnay from Domaine Eden is blend of 64% Domaine Eden fruit and 36% Mount Eden estate fruit. The nose is driven by ripe orchard fruits with earthy accents of hay, almonds and beeswax. The palate is silky with plush fruit lit up by a mineral streak and bright acidity, and it finishes long and uplifted. 1,942 cases produced."
- 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_249370Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 90Vinous Media: 92Named 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_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_222700Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 93Jeb Dunnuck: 93 PointsFoxen 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 - "The 2018 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard Block UU is light on its feet and supremely gracious. As always, this is a Chardonnay that was grafted onto Riesling rootstock, is so unique. The aromas and flavors are beautifully lifted throughout. Lime, ginger, lemon confit and white flowers add to the wine's total sense of allure."
JEB DUNNUCK 93 POINTS - "Moving to the two Chardonnays, the 2018 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard Block UU sports a light gold color as well as a pure, crystalline bouquet of honeyed apple, pineapple, citrus blossom, spice, and white flower. It has a kiss of background oak, but it's beautifully integrated, and the fruit is front and center. With good acidity, a balanced, layered texture, and a great finish, it's already drinking nicely yet should keep for 7-8 years, if you're so inclined."
- 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_219940Bottle Size: 750mlThis layered and complex Chardonnay brings together fruit from several of the winery's favorite Russian River Valley vineyard sites. Anchored by the naturally balanced character of Westside Farms and intriguing floral and stone fruit notes from Bacigalupi Vineyard, the wine's great concentration and structure derive from the nearby Rochioli and Allen vineyards. Olivet Lane Vineyard, featuring the Wente clone, adds refreshing citrus tones and excellent acidity.
This wine begins with intense aromatics of fresh cut lilies, chive blossoms, zesty lemons, limes and pithy white grapefruit. The abundant citrus on the nose persists on the palate as you are greeted with invigorating notes of freshly squeezed lemon juice, jasmine green tea and spicy wasabi arugula. This all comes together seamlessly on a silky palate with delicate undertones of creme fraiche and Marzipan. Pale straw in color, elegant aromas of jasmine and apple blossom fill the glass. Just ripened nectarines and white peaches compliment the pronounced floral tones while hints of graham cracker provide depth and richness. Balanced natural acidity coupled with a complex essence of zesty citrus oil capture the myriad of flavors and leave a lasting impression upon the palate.
- Item #: i_227210Bottle Size: 750mlAfter nearly 25 years of experience producing Chardonnay for other wineries, Greg now produces his own version of this classic California Chardonnay under his own label. The fruit comes from the Sangiacomo Family Vineyards just south of the town of Sonoma in the Carneros area, which provides ideal soils and climate. The Sangiacomos have been sustainably farming for three generations, providing quality grapes for numerous wineries since the late 1960s.
The fruit was selected from older established blocks. Each block was separately hand-harvested, pressed in a basket press, and then fermented in one third each new barrels, one-year barrels and older barrels in a cold (50º F) storage area. After primary fermentation the wine was inoculated for a second, malolactic fermentation and aged on its lees for nearly nine months, with the yeast lees gently stirred bi-weekly.
- 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_227950Bottle Size: 750mlAromatic and bright with lemon rind, early harvest melon, jasmine blossoms, and minerals, this medium-bodied Chardonnay is full of juicy white nectarine and key lime balanced by zesty acidity and a clean finish belying its ample mouthfeel and texture. Perfect for sipping, quaffing, pairing, and changing opinions.
- Item #: i_228800Bottle Size: 750mlHartford Family Winery was founded in 1994 as a result of Don and Jennifer Hartford's appreciation for the wines, the people, and the unique vineyards near their Russian River Valley home. Located in the Sonoma County town of Forestville, the winery is about 15 miles from the cool Pacific Coast. Making delicious wines of high personality is directly related to the difficult locations of their vineyard sources, the limited production of their bottlings and the varietals they use. "Character through adversity" is an expression that they believe applies to people and grapevines and surviving adversity builds character, and personality, in both.
The Russian River Valley is one of the best places in the world for growing Chardonnay. The cooling winds from the Pacific Ocean spread throughout the area, and help to moderate the temperatures throughout the day, whereas areas just to the east are exceptionally warmer. Also, the soils are a mix of sand, clay, and silt. The clay brings richness to a wine, while the sand brings more flowered aromatics and brightness in the wine. If you ask us, this sounds like the recipe for Chardonnay perfection!
- Item #: i_232320Bottle Size: 750MLTobin James Cellars, located 8 miles east of Paso Robles on Highway 46, sits among 71 acres of vineyard's and oak dotted hills. A magnificent setting for magnificent wines! This region is wonderful for powerful reds, but Monterey County holds a better place for Chardonnays. Rich & creamy with great citrus flavors, this is the perfect Chardonnay for afternoons and light to moderate food!
- Item #: i_232900Bottle Size: 750MLWinemaker's Tasting Notes: "A vintage defined by its crispness, vibrancy and freshness. Pretty aromas of honeysuckle, lemon blossom and Fuji apple spring from the glass. The palate boasts bright, lively layers of citrus with a hint of oak and creaminess from careful barrel aging and batonnage. Flavors of kumquat, lemon and Fuji apple linger in the juicy, mouthwatering finish. Enjoy now or cellar through 2023."
- Item #: i_256334Bottle Size: 750mlAromas of meyer lemon, nectarine and jasmine. Flavors of yellow plum, d'Anjou pear, tangerine and toasted hazelnut. Richly textured, velvety and concentrated with balanced acidity and subtle toast.
- Item #: i_236700Bottle Size: 750mlThe nose displays big ripe fruit with lovely oak and light buttery white peach with vanilla, and a hint of pineapple. A rich and elegant palate, clean and balanced. Nectarine and macaroon flavors persist into the long finish.