- 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_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_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_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_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_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_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_276568Bottle Size: 750mlSourced from select low-yielding vineyards in Napa Valley, Miner's Napa Valley Chardonnay is characterized by crisp apple, ripe melon and citrus flavors gently balanced with toasty French oak. Their winemaker, Gary Brookman, uses malolactic fermentation in moderation to retain the wine’s bright acidity. More than a decade after their Chardonnay put them on the map, this wine remains a classic. Sourced from several superb vineyards, including Garvey, Krupp Brothers, and Hyde Vineyards.
- Item #: i_277610Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 93ANTONIO GALLONI 93 POINTS - "The 2018 Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast) is such a beautiful wine. Pliant and creamy, the 2018 offers a striking interplay of vibrancy and fruit depth. Apricot, mint, dried flowers and light tropical inflections add myriad shades of complexity to this striking, expressive appellation-level Chardonnay. The 2018 is a blend of fruit mostly from Riddle and Thieriot."
- Item #: i_269100Bottle Size: 750MLProprietors Timm and Sharon Crull have quite a special piece of land in Rutherford. Not only are they virtually across the street from Quintessa and next door to Heitz, they also sell their Cabernet to such prestigious wineries as Nickel and Nickel, as well as Frank Family. While we have been touting their reds for some time, they also have a refreshing white.
The property at The Terraces is more conducive to red grapes, so Timm and Sharon went "down the road" to Trefethen to find fantastic Chardonnay grapes. This southern valley floor vineyard has deep alluvial soils and warm temperatures, allowing the grapes to develop ripe stone fruit and pineapple aromas. This is a cleaner style; all tank fermented, no malolactic, and aged sur lie in neutral oak barrels for 7 months.
With a pale yellow hue and aromas of yellow apple, D'Anjou pear, pineapple, and a hint of sweet woody vanilla the 2018 Chardonnay is a Terraces favorite. The palate has bright acidity, with complex flavors of fresh green apple, peach, tropical fruit, light toasty oak, and wet stone. The vibrant mouthfeel showcases surprising weight and richness with a lingering finish. Drink now or cellar for 8-10 years.
- Item #: i_268370Bottle Size: 750mlFounded in 2017, Tresomm is a winery based in the Valle de Guadalupe in Baja, Mexico. A project born from the friendship of 3 California Sommeliers, Taylor Grant, Conner Mitchell, and Christopher Miller, M.S. On a whim trip down to the Valle to visit wineries, they were overwhelmed by how connected they felt to the region. On the last visit of the day, they stopped by Bodegas Magoni and tasted the wines with winemaker Camillo Magoni's son in law, Julio. After many laughs (and many glasses), they arranged to come back to meet Camillo.
Originally from Valtellina, Italy, Camillo is a pioneer of the Baja wine industry. He moved to the Valle in 1965 and over the years has planted his vineyards with indigenous European varietals. Taylor, Conner, and Chris partnered with Camillo to produce thought-provoking bottles from organically farmed varieties including Grignoliño, Aligote, and Touriga Nacional.
The 2018 Aligote comes from vines that are 20 years old. The wine was whole cluster pressed to stainless steel where it underwent spontaneous fermentation and 6 month sur lie elevage. Golden apple, stone fruit, salinity, textured with mouthwatering acidity.
- Item #: i_228310Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 94Vinous Media: 93ROBERT PARKER 94 POINTS - "The 2018 Chardonnay Cahill Lane has very pretty scents of quince and baked apples with notes of crushed hazelnuts, beeswax and white blossoms. The medium-bodied palate is satiny and packed to the gills with concentrated, layered flavors, and it finishes long with bright freshness calling you in for another sip. 907 cases produced."
ANTONIO GALLONI 93 POINTS - "The 2018 Chardonnay Cahill Lane Vineyard offers a compelling interplay of richness and energy. Lemon confit, almond, dried flowers, sage and chamomile are all laced together in this very pretty, understated Chardonnay from Hansel. The natural richness and texture of Wente Clone Chardonnay emerges nicely over time."