- 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_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_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_214070Bottle Size: 750mlThe Grabo Ranch wines is Dehlinger's vision to present you with a charming pair of wines originating from a property that has an authentic and rich history. These wines are intended to be enjoyed any night of the week, and are made using the same classical traditional cellar techniques of small barrel fermentation and maturation consistent with the Dehlinger style.
This wine is produced from old-vine grapes grown in goldridge soil and planted to heritage California clones. This expressive wine is a blend of two aromatic clones of Chardonnay: Rued Clone and See's Clone. The wine was fermented in 75% neutral oak, 25% new, for enhanced fruit transparency, and the fermentation temperatures were held cool to retain fruit aromas. The wine was bottled unfiltered. The wine is fresh, supple and round, and features notes of yuzu citrus and peachy undertones.
- 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_274300Bottle Size: 750mlThe Chardonnay estate is a barrel selection. Since each barrel ferments with its own yeast and ages at its own rate, each barrel becomes very distinct. Before bottling, Jason tastes each barrel. Those barrels which speak to the longest aging potential become the Original Vines Reserve. This estate, on the other hand, is blended from those barrels which offer the most immediate pleasure.
- 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_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_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_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_240520Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 90 PointsJEB DUNNUCK 90 POINTS - "...the 2018 Chardonnay Alexander Valley offers a more pure, classic, and medium-bodied style with impressive white peach, crushed stone, spice, and white flower-like aromas and flavors. It has beautiful balance, good acidity, and a clean finish."
- Item #: i_245250Bottle Size: 750MLWith each vintage of Highland Chardonnay, Morgan showcases the unique attributes of their Double L Vineyard and the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. The 2014 cuvee includes 67% fruit from the Double L and the balance from outstanding neighboring estates in the SLH, including McIntryre and Tondre. The Double L Vineyard has been "Certified Organic" since 2002 but has been conscientiously farmed in this method since the original plantings in 1997.
This focused, elegant Chardonnay's aromas feature lemon, butter croissant, and summer squash. On the palate, the rich fruit flavors are complemented by a light touch graham cracker and salted butter caramel. Incredibly food-friendly, the 2017 Highland Chardonnay is a perfect match with cream-sauced pastas, roast chicken and pork, and seafood.
- Item #: i_245490Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 94What do you do when you are one of the most historic, highly-praised wineries in California making some of the best scoring Chardonnays? If you are Mount Eden, then you do it again!
Mount 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 what he named Mount Eden, and it is not uncommon for the Chardonnays to earn 95+ point scores from the critics, and these are some of the best Chardonnays made in California!
The Mount Eden wines show the same amazing qualities found in many of the Grand Crus from Burgundy; minerality, complexity, ripe orchard fruit, but restrained use of new oak. In addition to their estate vineyards, they purchase a small amount of grapes from Edna Valley, a cool-climate region in California's Central Coast. Edna Valley has one of the longest growing seasons in the world, which slows ripening and helps to develop great nuances of flavor while retaining its elegant nature. This particular vineyard is the oldest in the Edna Valley, and yields are equivalent to those whose wines are 2x-3x times this price!
Mount Eden makes this wine in essentially the same manner as their estate fruit; grapes are pressed without crushing, and barrel fermented in French Burgundy barrels. This year, Mount Eden's Wolff Vineyard Chardonnay has received a lofty 94-point score from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, making this one of the best domestic Chardonnay values we've seen in years! Come and get it, while we still have it in stock!
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "The 2018 Chardonnay Wolff Vineyard from Edna Valley is pure, energetic and fresh this vintage. The nose is lovely, loaded with floral perfume and ripe citrus fruits. The palate is silky and expansive with a shimmering mineral character and a long, pure finish. It improved over the two to three days it was open and will benefit from a long decant. 4,256 cases produced."
- Item #: i_247820Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 94Not only is winemaker Adam Tolmach one of the greatest California "Rhone Rangers" we've met, but he has been fashioning outstanding Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs for decades! For Over 25 years, Adam has helped to push Rhone and Burgundian varietals into the limelight again and again, with his wines earning high scores by the publications, and raves from the consumers! The wines showcase intense fruit flavors, yet retain the ability to accompany food...not overpower it!
Adam works closely with a dozen different vineyards on the Central Coast, and the most renowned and singular expression of terroir has to be the fruit coming from Bien Nacido Vineyard. Bien Nacido is located on the eastern foothills of the Santa Maria Valley. One of the coolest wine growing climates in California, the terrain is a combination of rocky soils and ocean influence, and receives a steady wash of cool marine air. This vineyard has been named one of the "Top Grand Cru Vineyards in California" by Wine Enthusiast, and one of the "Top Five California Vineyards" by the Wall Street Journal! Bien Nacido has also been a grape source for other notable brands, such as Sine Qua Non, Paul Lato, Qupe, Herman Story, Jaffurs, and several others.
This year, Adam fermented this Chardonnay entirely in neutral French oak barrels; so you get just a kiss of wood, and it does not overpower the wine. The wine was aged for just under a year in barrel, and only 877 cases were produced...that's all that was made! This wine shows the brighter, fresher, dare we say Burgundian, side of Chardonnay. We were hooked from the first sip of this Chardonnay; you take one sip, and we're sure you will be, too!
ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "The 2018 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard is such a classic wine from this site. Nuanced, translucent and yet so full of flavor, the 2018 dazzles from start to finish. There is a level of detail and nuance to the 2018 that is just remarkable. Scents of tangerine oil, mint, dried flowers and apricot envelop the palate as this gracious, alluring Chardonnay gradually opens in the glass. The 2018 has a bit more new oak than has been the case in the recent past. I love the precision here. In a word: sublime."
- Item #: i_248610Bottle Size: 750mlA lurid straw gold, the aromatics abound with bright lemon, butterscotch, honeysuckle and jasmine, with hints of Granny Smith apple, fresh butter and lime zest. Rich and layered upon entry, the palate espouses honeydew, yellow peach, vanilla with a lush, weighty viscosity. A vein of acidity is present through the finish with a pleasing close of minerality and lemon pith.
- 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_260260Bottle Size: 750mlThis is a special vintage as it marks the first time all of the grapes that went into this wine were grown on their own Domaine de la Cote estate. Wine is made in the vineyard and it is noticeable to us what a big step-up this vintage is in terms of complexity, ageability, and nuance because they controlled the farming.
This wine leads with a faint nose of reduction and flinty minerality. Rich notes of custard and lees mix with smoky notes of crushed rock and ocean spray. The tension on the palate offers a lively wine with textural richness that will age well for decades.