- Item #: i_200330Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 94The 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.
ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "The 2019 Chardonnay Watson Ranch is open-knit and seductive. Orchard fruit, chamomile, spice and dried herbs all meld together in a pliant Chardonnay that offers a striking mix of textural richness and energy. Watson Ranch is the southernmost vineyard in Napa Valley, a cool-climate pocket that yields a Chardonnay of real distinction."
- Item #: i_275937Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 94 PointsPeople 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 2019 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_207720Bottle Size: 750mlGrown high on the limestone-rich soils of Mt. Harlan, this is a sleek and sophisticated expression of cool-climate Chardonnay, with alluring aromas of guava, Mandarin orange, fennel and hints of cedar. On the palate, the wine's lovely weight and lush texture is balanced by a bright natural acidity that adds purity and precision to the generous white peach and passionfruit flavors.
- Item #: i_210160Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 92ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "The 2018 Chardonnay Estate has lush scents of baked apples, honeysuckle, honeycomb and hay with notes of quince paste and almonds. The palate is medium-bodied, rounded and slightly buttery with a long, uplifted finish. 10,000 cases produced."
- Item #: i_214000Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 92Dehlinger has long been recognized for its Russian River Valley Chardonnays, which are known for their balance, fresh acidity, and unctuous flavor. Today, Dehlinger produces a single Estate Chardonnay bottling each vintage, originating from their eight acres of Chardonnay vines planted between 1975 and 1988. These old vines, grown in the region's classic goldridge series soils, are grafted to the California heritage "Wente" clone, which produces small clusters and berries and has a notable minerality and almost oily viscosity.
Dehlinger's Chardonnays are crafted using traditional techniques which preserve the flavor and elegance of the variety. At harvest, the grapes are picked at night, brought cold into the winery and "whole cluster pressed" to extract the highest quality juice. From there, the juice is fermented in French oak barrels using native yeasts. The wine gains further complexity through malolactic fermentation and a year of aging on the lees. Dehlinger has been bottling its Chardonnays "Unfiltered" since the late 1990s in order to capture the full flavor potential and most pleasing texture possible.
ANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - "Not surprisingly, in 2017 Dehlinger's Chardonnay Estate is quite racy and luscious. Orchard fruit, citrus confit, and wild flowers take on an extra level of sheer richness, while tropical accents add to the real feeling of exoticism."
- Item #: i_215880Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 93 PointsDragonette strives to create Chardonnays of textural purity, complexity and balance with classic tension. Complexity and balance are achieved by meticulous attention to detail in the vineyard, where each vineyard block is managed for appropriate canopy and proper yields. Tension and textural purity begin in the vineyard with low yields and balanced acidity at harvest. Native yeast fermentation in clean oak cooperage and aging on the lees aid in preserving the purity of texture. Dragonette ages their wines on their lees, without racking, and constant topping. Moreover, each wine is bottled only after sufficient time in barrel to permit ideal evolution. The SRH blend is constructed from these individual components selected for diversity of site and soils to create complexity and harmony. This year, the wine is a blend of fruit from Donnachadh, Spear, and Bentrock vineyards, which are all organically or sustainably farmed.
JEB DUNNUCK 93 POINTS - "Moving to the Chardonnay releases, the 2018 Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills reveals a medium gold hue as well as a textbook, classy bouquet of golden apples, citrus blossom, spice, and salty minerality. A textbook Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay, it's medium-bodied and has a wonderful texture as well as a great finish. Readers looking to learn what topflight Chardonnay from this region tastes like should latch onto bottles."
- Item #: i_218880Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 91Elk Cove's Chardonnay is hand picked then gently whole-cluster pressed to avoid bitterness. The juice is fermented in large puncheons and a mix of neutral and new oak barrels. They age in barrel for a full 12 months with some stirring on the lees after malolactic fermentation. This is their classic take on Chardonnay, one of the original varietals they planted in 1974 and grew for over 20 years.
WINE SPECTATOR 91 POINTS - "Floral and elegantly festive, with pretty tropical fruit and pear notes, laced with honeysuckle details and lingering on a plush finish. Drink now. 525 cases made."
- Item #: i_232540Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 91Seven Springs Vineyard was planted in 1984 by Al MacDonald on an east-facing slope, in the iron-rich and rocky, volcanic soils of the Eola-Amity Hills. Al planted what would become one of Oregon's most recognized vineyards who sold fruit to many benchmark Oregon producers. The vineyard's position opposite of the windy Van Duzer Corridor mitigates hot, sunny afternoons in the Willamette Valley with cool winds from the Pacific. As valley temperatures increase throughout the day, warm air rises, replaced by cooling winds flooding in from the Pacific through the Van Duzer gap and across the vineyard providing extended hang time at harvest. The vineyard has always been dry farmed, it's certified LIVE and was converted to biodynamic viticulture in 2007.
At the helm of Seven Springs is Rajat Parr, world renowned wine sommelier and Sashi Moorman, known for his passion for winemaking and viticulture. Together, these two bring an insurmountable amount of knowledge leading Seven Springs into its 4th decade producing outstanding wines at an affordable price point!
WINE SPECTATOR 91 POINTS - "Refined and elegantly layered, with floral apple, spiced lees and mineral notes that glide along a structured finish. Drink now through 2021. 1,500 cases made."
- Item #: i_220510Bottle Size: 750mlThis smooth, rich Chardonnay is the wine for you if your palate tends toward the “buttery” and “oaky” side.
It would be hard to hear the name Ferrari- Carano and not think of world-class wine. From a small, 30-acre plot of grapes purchased in 1979, to today’s 1,500 acres in six different appelations, Ferrari-Carano owns some of the finest properties in all of California. Their wines are recognized by the critics and are listed on the menus of some of the finest restaurants in the world. While tasting through the current lineup at a recent luncheon, it was their Reserve Chardonnay that truly garnered the limelight.
Coming from their property in Carneros, the long, cool growing season matures the fruit slowly, giving it plenty of time to gain in richness and depth while retaining a higher acidity and tighter structure than fruit in warmer climate. Combine this with the wine’s aging in a high percentage in new oak, and you get a Chardonnay that is both fresh, lively, yet rich and decadent. This wine entices with aromas of quince, apple, cinnamon, caramel, citrus, butter, vanilla, and graham cracker complemented by elegant, upfront flavors of pear, peach, and a lingering, toasted oak finish.
- Item #: i_220170Bottle Size: 750MLThe dramatic landscape of the Sonoma coast, with its steep hillsides and windswept foothills, gives Flowers a diverse profile of well-draining soils, while direct proximity to the Pacific Ocean results in a long, cool growing season. These extreme coastal conditions allow Flowers to produce a layered Chardonnay with bright fruit focus, complex minerality and crystalline acidity. Flowers' Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is sourced from a small selection of family-owned sites, including their own estate Camp Meeting Ridge Vineyard.
Medium yellow in color, this wine displays aromas of straw, lemon verbena, and honey suckle that mingle with layers of lemon meringue and lychee. Upon entry are flavors of lemon curd, honeydew, and hints of star fruit and wet stone, balanced with a touch of fine grained tannin. The crisp finish is countered with a spicy note of white pepper and lingers with coastal minerality.
- Item #: i_223470Bottle Size: 750MLRyo-fu is Japanese for "cool breeze." The cool, foggy breeze that comes off the Pacific Ocean allows the Russian River Valley to grow high quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The area's sandy soil is crucial as well; but without the right temperatures, the fruit could ripen too soon or not at all. Thanks to Freeman's local "ryo-fu", the growing seasons are perfectly timed for their vineyards. The 2015 vintage will go down as the earliest Chardonnay harvest on record at Freeman, and with a little help from that cool breeze, all of the fruit came in perfectly ripe.
A blend of Chardonnay from vineyards such as Keefer, Heintz, and Mill Station, the wine shows medium straw color, with a throwback nose of matchstick, honey, ripe Gravenstein apples, and melon. The palate is tightly wound, combining strong acidity and a dense core of fruit. It will take a few years in bottle to reach its peak, but with enough aeration in the glass, everything comes together to reveal a vibrant, well-balanced Chardonnay. The drinking window should be 2018–2023.
- Item #: i_224040Bottle Size: 750MLWinery's Notes: "At Frog's Leap, we have been fortunate enough to work with the same Chardonnay vineyard ever since our first vintage in 1985. Planted by the renowned Truchard family in 1979, these vines are deeply rooted in the decomposed shale and sandstone that are characteristic of the steeply-sloped hillsides of Carneros, and lend themselves perfectly to the balanced, restrained style that is our signature. Held for less than 5 days in new French oak barrels, the wine is racked at the peak of its fermentation to concrete vessels, where it sits, untouched and sur lie, for up to 10 months. Grown in shale and aged in stone, our Chardonnay boasts incredible freshness and a distinct mineral edge that speaks directly to its origins."
- Item #: i_219890Bottle Size: 750mlPellegrini's Olivet Lane Vineyard was planted in 1975 to Wente selection on AXR roostock. The vineyard sits on 65 acres of sloping benchland in the Santa Rosa Plain, in between the warmer Westside Road region andthe cooler Green Valley, where warm sunny days are moderated by cool breezes and chilly evening temperatures. The combination of low temperature, regular fog intrusion and well-drained loam, clay soils create an excellent environment for growing Chardonnay that develop cool-climate characteristics and impeccable acid at fairly low sugars. The wines from this vineyard simultaneously express power and finess, and they do so with tremendous balance.
Winemaker's Tasting Notes: "Attractive citrus notes of lemon tart, grapefruit and lime zest initially open up in the glass, followed by rich aromas of honeysuckle, lemongrass and pie crust. The palate opens up with flavors of roasted Meyer lemon, wildflower honey, apricot and peach. The texture is rich and creamy with an underlying layer of acidity and loads of fleshy fruit that linger into a persistent finish."
- Item #: i_222500Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 92Vinous Media: 92The Gran Moraine vineyard was planted in 2005 to several different Dijon clones. Located five miles west of the town of Carlton this site is one of the more westerly vineyards in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA and therefore subject to the cooling afternoon breezes that roll off the Pacific. A variety of slopes, aspects, row direction, and plant material offer a wide diversity of blocks to choose from when blending this Yamhill-Carlton Chardonnay.
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 92 POINTS - "Pale yellow. Fresh pear, melon and lemon curd aromas are complemented by hints of white flowers, vanilla and buttered toast. Fleshy and seamless in the mouth, offering juicy citrus and orchard fruit flavors that tighten up and pick up a minerally nuance with aeration. Finishes with firm grip, a repeating floral note and strong, spicy persistence."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "TThe 2017 Chardonnay Yamhill-Carlton has a wonderfully open, inviting nose of honey-drizzled hazelnuts, apple pie, clotted cream, baked peaches, allspice and crushed stone. The medium-bodied palate is creamy textured and savory in character with juicy acidity and a long, textured finish. This will benefit from one more year in bottle. 2,303 cases produced."
- 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_229830Bottle Size: 750MLThe Heitz name is so deeply ingrained in the culture of Cabernet connoisseurs that some people are surprised to discover we have been making Chardonnay since the winery was founded in 1961. Sleek and vibrant with the invigorating aroma of juicy pear and lemon blossoms. It's a delicious wine delivering tiers of citrus flavor and the slight tanginess.
- Item #: i_235800Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 92ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 92 POINTS - "Kinero is the personal label of Anthony Yount, who is the winemaker at Denner Vineyards. Yount's new releases, all of them white this go-around, continue to rise to the challenge, if you will, of working with fruit from some of the Central Coast's most famed vineyards. Yount acknowledges and relishes the task and points out that 'if you have Rosemary's or James Berry Vineyard on the bottle, it better be really good, because you sure can't blame the fruit if it doesn't come out right.' "
"Limpid straw-yellow. White peach, pear nectar, tangerine and candied ginger on the deeply perfumed nose. Coats the palate with ripe, open-knit citrus and pit fruit, vanilla and honeysuckle flavors supported by a spine of smoky minerality. A sexy floral note emerges on the broad, silky finish, which clings with impressive, mineral- and spice-driven persistence. 40% new French oak."
- Item #: i_237240Bottle Size: 750mlCreme brulee opens into a candied pear bouquet. Fermented in stainless steel tanks on the leas and aged in neutral, French oak barrels, light hints of vanilla arise with more robust cantaloupe, citrus, and ripe melon notes. Balanced, fresh texture and crisp acidity harmonize this Chardonnay in a wonderful expression of the Russian River Valley.
- Item #: i_236780Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 94Jeb Dunnuck: 93 PointsLiquid Farm's "White Hill" bottling is the leaner and more Chablisiane of their two Chardonnay bottlings. Comprised of fruit from some of the best vineyards in the area, White Hill highlights the unique salinity that comes through in the ancient soils of Santa Rita Hills. The style of this wine will always be racier and predominately neutral barrel fermentation. Its profile is that of mineral, yellow peach, fresh Asian pear, salinity, linen, candied ginger, and lavender cream.
ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "The 2018 Chardonnay White Hill is bright and beautifully focused. Lemon oil, white flowers and tropical accents give this mid-weight, layered Chardonnay tons of character. Chamomile, apricot, sage, crushed rocks and mint develop later, adding striking dimensions of complexity. The 2018 is a blend from Clos Pepe, Kessler-Haak and La Rinconada, sites that are so complementary."
JEB DUNNUCK 93 POINTS - "Starting with the 2018 Chardonnay White Hill, which was brought up in a mix of neutral oak and stainless steel, it reveals a light gold hue to go with a great bouquet of caramelized citrus, white flowers, brioche, and salty minerality. Vibrant, fresh, medium-bodied, and elegant on the palate, it's beautifully done and should evolve for over a decade in cold cellars."
- Item #: i_237880Bottle Size: 750MLRob Lloyd (who was formerly on the winemaking team at Rombauer) has produced an unabashed California Chardonnay. The grapes come from two Sangiacomo Vineyard sites, Home Ranch and Green Acres in the Carneros region. Picked at their peak of ripeness, the grapes are gently pressed, settled, and moved to barrels to be cold fermented. The room is kept at a very low temperature keeping the wine from fermenting too rapidly and thus losing its aromatics. The wine slowly undergoes primary and secondary fermentation for nime months before being racked off its primary lees and bottled.