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2015 Brewer Clifton Chardonnay Santa Rita Hills
This is an amazingly fine “appellation” Chardonnay of chiseled clarity and exquisite balance. The nose jumps forth in a vivid array of peach pit, white peach, apple skin, apple sauce, orange and Meyer lemon zest and white pepper scents, cut by flint, slate and chalk-like mineral notes. Things are just as intense and focused on the palate, where everything promised by the aromas is richly replicated and lingering. The finish is both luxurious and cutting crisp, so the wine should be a perfect foil to sauced fish or fowl and especially to raw sea foods. It is likely be to long-lived. A blend of the 3D, Acin & Machado Vineyards.
2014 Cattleya Chardonnay Pratt Vineyard Russian River Valley
This is an elegant, yet flavor-packed Chardonnay. The nose rolls-out a panorama of fruity-savory scents, as red apple, white peach, green melon rind, lemon curd, tangerine zest, vanilla wafer, hazelnut and hints of coconut and nut husk create a harmonious perfume. Opulence tempered by zest makes the mouth-feel just as elegant, and the fruity-zesty-creamy balance holds through a super-long finish. The lasting memory is of yellow peach, pear, quince, fresh apple sauce, lemon curd, watermelon sorbet, white pepper, vanilla wafer and hazelnut flavors in exquisite harmony. This beauty should be even grander in another twelve to twenty-four months. 100 cases produced.
2014 Failla Chardonnay Haynes Vineyard Coombsville Napa Valley
This Chardonnay is rich in aroma and texture, complex and lingering in flavor and altogether satisfying. Hints of orange blossom, yellow rose and clove provide entree to richer notes of white peach, baked green apple, pear skin, lemon curd, dried pineapple, lime zest, brioche, hazelnut and marzipan. These elements find a harmony that stretches from the wine’s nose to it’s focused, lingering finish. It is ready to enjoy. 484 cases produced.
2014 La Pitchoune Chardonnay Sonoma Coast
Richness and zest are equal partners in this lovely wine and the aromas are a harmonious melange of Fuji apple, white peach, lemon-lime zest, tarte tatin, white pepper, toasted meringue, nutmeg and clove scents. There is a racy textural elegance on the palate, where flavors of nectarine, green plum, white peach, key lime, pineapple core, toasted meringue, almond, vanilla wafer, clove and white rose create a lingering impression of polished opulence. The finish is lingering and gently piquant, which suggests that it might prove a near-perfect companion to richly-sauced entrees. 200 cases made.
2014 Morlet Family Chardonnay “Ma Douce” Fort Ross-Seaview Sonoma Coast
Concentrated and focused, if youthfully tight, this racy wine offers a complex perfume of white peach tart, sweet red apple, lemon cream pie, toasted almond and baking spices, with hints of yellow rose and mock orange blossom. On the palate, it is every bit as rich, yet just as tightly-wrapped, and the texture is firmed by chalky mineral notes as well. The result is a sleek, intense, obviously youthful yet aristocratically balanced Chardonnay with lingering flavors of white peach, green apple, lemon tart, quince, white rose, vanilla, baking-spices and undercurrents of Persian raisin, marzipan and hard minerality. A classy dinner wine already, it will be a stunner in three years.
2015 Ultima Tulie Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley
If initially reserved, the nose of this rich Chardonnay expands with airing to reveal aromas of baked apple, dried peach, pineapple core, coriander seed, nutmeg and other baking spices and a hint of orange peel tea. It is as rich as expected on the palate, if still youthfully tense, and the flavors build as the wine airs. Ultimately, the finish makes the wine: as bright flavors of lemon, pineapple core and Fuji apple marry richer notes of white peach tart, dried yellow peach, toasted grain, vanilla wafer, baking-spice and hazelnut husk. A fine companion to richly sauced fish or fowl, it will be much more so in another year or so. 48 cases produced.
2013 Alma Fria Chardonnay Sonoma Coast
This is a delightful Chardonnay that delivers depth of flavor and attractive refreshment. The nose offers green apple, pineapple core, lemon, lime, white peach, white rose, orange blossom and white pepper scents of vibrant freshness. Things are rich, yet piquantly fresh on the palate, where flavors of hazelnut husk and lime zest join “river stone” mineral notes to bring a sharply cutting balance to all the rich and lingering fruit. Read to drink, it should handle the richest entrees with ease. 185 cases produced.
2014 Brick & Mortar Chardonnay Sweetwater Springs Vineyard Russian River Valley
This luxuriously rich wine is as zesty as it is opulent. The nose offers lemon and orange zest, red apple skin and white pepper scents in contrast to a plush display of baked apple, peach tart, pineapple and hazelnut nougat. It proves as tongue-coating as expected on the palate, where delicious flavors of peach, baked apple, pineapple core, lemon curd, hazelnut, orange blossom, yellow rose, brioche, clove and white pepper come on strong and linger in chiseled focus. Truly rewarding already, it should be even more so next year. 200 cases produced.
2014 Deovlet Chardonnay Zotovich Vineyard Santa Rita Hills
Rich in aroma, this lovely Chardonnay layers scents of white peach, lemon curd, quince, kiwi, cantaloupe, apple, pineapple core, brioche, vanilla and baking spices into an elegant perfume. There is a strong impression of creamy richness on the palate, yet it is nicely balanced by citric zest and attractive minerality, and the lingering finish adds notes of white pepper, lime zest, celery seed, melon rind and white rose to reinforce the overall sense of depth. It is ready to enjoy. 100 cases produced.
2014 Paul Lato Chardonnay “Kokoro” Santa Barbara County
By any standard this is a knockout Chardonnay. The nose pushes-forth aromas dominated by apple skin, lemon zest, peach pit, kumquat, baked green apples and vanilla cream pie. The flavors are much deeper and more varied, and they roll-out in a rich, piquant, slightly exotic wave, with pear liqueur, dried peach, dried pineapple, dried mango, apple, brioche, toasted grain, nut husk, smoke, lemon curd, lemon zest and kumquat marmalade impressions lining-up in chiseled focus. Long, vibrantly fresh and intense to the end, it is built for service with the richest seafood entrees and it will likely grow in stature and appeal for several years. 45 cases made.
2014 Petree Cellars Chardonnay King Estate Russian River Valley
This is a rich Chardonnay, from start to finish. The nose rolls forth as a genteel melange of white peach, baked green apple, pineapple core, lemon curd, lime zest, vanilla wafer, brioche, meringue, toasted nut, clove, nutmeg and cardamon scents. It is mouth-coating and full-flavored on the palate, where the same mix of stone fruit, citrus and sweet-savory spice flavors never lags. Built for flavorful roast chicken, richly sauced pasta and the like, it is ready to enjoy. 110 cases produced.
2014 Tantara Chardonnay Dierberg Vineyard Santa Maria Valley
Every bit as elegant as it is rich, this bottling fans-out it’s aromas of fresh apple sauce, apple skin, pear skin, white peach, lemon marmalade, vanilla cream pie, nutmeg and hints of toasted hazelnut and coconut in a pretty display. It is slightly more reserved in the mouth, yet just as texturally rich as expected. At the finish, white pepper and apple skin notes bring focus and a soft-edged contrast to the wine’s layering of apple, peach, Persian raisin, lemon curd, vanilla wafer and baking-spice flavors. Very satisfying already, it will be more so in twelve to eighteen months. 100 cases produced.
2013 Albatross Ridge Chardonnay “Estate” Carmel Valley Monterey
This wine's complex perfume of baked Gravenstein apple, white peach pit, quince, pineapple core, mock orange blossom, vanilla wafer, baking-spice and toasted hazelnut rolls-out with seductive richness. There is a delightful and sophisticated piquancy on the palate, where nut husk, peach pit and chalky mineral notes counterpoint juicy-rich notes of baked apple, white peach, peach pit, quince jelly and pineapple core, above a rich undercurrent of honey, hazelnut, vanilla and mineral salts. If three years from its peak, it is delicious now and just cries out for luxuriously sauced entrees. 410 cases made.
2014 Ch. Igai Takaha Chardonnay “Samurai” Santa Rita Hills
Very ripe and almost heady-rich, this full-tilt Chardonnay delivers aromas of yellow peach, baked apple, lychee fruit, pineapple soufflé, coconut milk and white pepper over quieter vanilla, brioche and straw notes. On the palate, it proves as grand-scale in texture as expected and as flavorful, with peach, baked apple, preserved lemon, pineapple core, mango, lychee, white pepper, coconut cream, vanilla wafer, toasted grain and some smoky mineral hints all vying for attention at the end. Built for service with the richest and most flavorful entrees, it is ready to go. 183 cases produced.
2013 Chasseur Chardonnay Lorenzo Vineyard Russian River Valley
This is textbook Chasseur, opulent and mouth-coating, yet classy. The nose is a luxurious mix of tarte tarin, yellow peach, Asian pear, pineapple core, preserved lemon, pastry crust, nutmeg and baking-spice scents. The texture is plush and palate-coating, yet there is supporting minerality and zest to keep the cascade of peach, guava, quince, baked apple, pineapple core, nutmeg, cardamom, baking-spice, brioche and hazelnut flavors in dinner-balance. Everything is bright, flavorful and richly textured to the very end. Ready to enjoy. it will stand up to the richest entrees. 100 cases made.
2015 La Voix Chardonnay “Here and Heaven” John Sebastiano Vineyard Santa Rita Hills
Steve Clifton’s new Chardonnay is a portrait of quiet elegance, in stark contrast to the ferociously intense wines he helped craft at Brewer-Clifton. The aromas are a youthfully subtle mix of quince, lemon curd, baked apple, white peach, mock orange, vanilla cream and meringue scents, with a wisp of Thai basil in the background. White peach, baked apple, Bosc pear, Canary melon, orange souffle, white pepper and chestnut flavors find a pretty harmony on the palate. The finish is genteel and lingering and the wine is a pleasure to drink already. 92 cases produced.
2014 Talley Chardonnay Rosemary’s Vineyard Arroyo Grande Valley
Rosemary’s is always Talley’s most flamboyant Chardonnay and the 2014 is true to form. The nose is opulent, yet beautifully focused, and the aromas roll-out as a plush mix of fresh Fuji apple, baked apple, white peach tart, lemon zest, pineapple core, white pepper and baking-spice, with a hint of Marzipan in the background. If clearly youthful, it is bright, polished and already creamy on the palate, where the dominant apple and white peach flavors rise above a supporting cast that includes orange zest, lemon marmalade, pineapple core, yellow rose, brioche, vanilla wafer and hazelnut. Zest and drying mineral elements bring the lingering finish into food-worthy balance. Just delicious already, it will grow more so for several more years 438 cases produced.
2013 Tyler Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict Vineyard Santa Rita Hills
A wine with a perfume to match it’s fine pedigree, this lovely Chardonnay opens with truly elegant aromas of spiced baked apple, lemon drop, green plum, pear skin, orange blossom, toasted grain, toasted nuts and minerals. It is sleek and polished on the palate, where quince jam, apple, lemon sorbet, green plum, pear skin, chamomile, baking-spice and toasted hazelnut flavors fan-out over a subtle mineral undercurrent. The finish is super-long and delightfully feminine. This already delicious bottling will be a stunning match for the more elegant seafood entrees, and it should improve for another eighteen to twenty-four months. 150 cases produced.
2013 Camino Chardonnay Sobranes Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
Here is yet another proof that the Sobranes Vineyard is a great home for Chardonnay. Rich, harmonious and bright, the nose marries scents of white peach, baked green apple, lemon and orange blossom, pineapple core, lemon cream pie, white rose, white pepper and toasted hazelnut into an enchanting perfume. It is sleek, yet creamy on the palate, where flavors of lemon and lime zest, peach pie, apple skin, white pepper, brioche, allspice and toasted hazelnut fan-out. The finish is lingering and polished and the dinner-worthy balance reminds of fine Meursaut. Lovely now, it will be even better in another twelve to twenty-four months. 75 cases produced.
2014 Paul Lato Chardonnay “East of Eden” Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
If years from its full loveliness, this streamlined beauty is already gorgeous and its aromatic profile is a textbook expression of Santa Lucia Highlands fruit. Its perfume of lemon sorbet, fresh pear, white peach, pineapple core, kumquat marmalade, white rose, beeswax, brioche, toasted grain and white pepper is sweet-natured and beautifully focused, yet it is stiffened by it’s own vibrant zest and by a hard, chalk-like, undercurrent. The flavors that follow are tightly-coiled, but penetrating, as the mineral notes provide strong contrast to the wine’s core of lemon sorbet, apple, pear liqueur and peach. The finish is rich and lingering while the texture is sleek and the finish cutting-dry. A joy already with seared scallops, it will be a stunner in five to eight years. 98 cases made.
2013 Liquid Farm Chardonnay “Golden Slope” Santa Rita Hills
This “richest barrels” blend is once again a delight. The aromas are creamy-zesty and stylish, with scents of white peach, green apple, lemon sorbet, lemon curd, pink grapefruit, mock orange, sweet vanilla and honey finding harmony. It is downright tongue-coating in the mouth, where a charming mix of lemon, peach, pineapple core, fresh green and red apple and pear skin flavors are accented by notes of nutmeg, white pepper and vanilla cream pie and gain a drying contrast from a chalky mineral undercurrent. If ultra-long and creamy to the end, it finishes almost piquantly dry. Super now, it will be more so in eighteen to twenty-four months. A blend of six vineyards, 936 cases produced.
2014 Mayacamas Chardonnay Estate Mount Veeder Napa Valley
Possibly the finest Mayacamas Chardonnay since the 1970s, this is a brilliant and age-worthy bottling. Elegance and richness are equal partners in the nose, where a deep core of spiced baked apple and white peach gains further richness from notes of lemon-pineapple souffle, vanilla cream pie and nutmeggy custard. In the mouth it is racy yet palate-coating, with youthful reserve and quiet acidity taming the opulence of its dried peach, dried apple, fresh apple skin, lemon curd, pie crust and vanilla wafer flavors. Quite long and already super delicious, the finish offers a representation of what the wine may become given three or four more years of cellar-time.
2015 Melville Chardonnay “Clone 76 - Inox” Santa Rita Hills
Bright, exotic, concentrated, focused, brilliantly balanced and distinctive, this is likely the best Inox bottling Melville has produced. The nose contrasts fruity aromas of lemon sorbet, peach pit, white peach, fresh green apple, guava and lime oil with others of nut husks, celery seeds and river-stone minerality. It is tongue-coating rich in the mouth, yet shows a much stronger mineral character and cutting zest in counter-point. The finish is a lingering cascade of lemon sorbet, Fuji apple, red apple skin, green plum, yellow peach, canteloupe, pistacio, bees wax, white rose, cucumber and oyster shell flavors that are bone-chilling dry. Made without barrel contact, 350 6-packs made.
2014 Ridge Vineyards Chardonnay Estate Monte Bello Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains
Focused, deep and elegantly spicy, the nose of this terrific bottling melds scents of citron, lemon marmalade, spiced apple, white peach, vanilla wafer and some hard-edged mineral notes into a penetrating yet never heavy perfume. It is as deeply fruity on the palate, where fresh red apple, lemon sorbet, apple skin, white peach, peach pit, vanilla, toasted grain and mineral flavors come on strong and linger. Absolutely delicious right now, it is likely three years from it’s full expression. 3361 cases produced.
2012 Hartford Court Chardonnay Stone Cote Vineyard Sonoma Coast
As luxurious in oak treatment as expected from this producer, this bottling has the fruit intensity to reward the extra time in barrel. In the nose, fruit scents of baked apple, golden fig, lemon curd, tangerine zest, Asian pear, yellow rose and pineapple make a lovely marriage with others of brioche, toasted hazelnut, nutmeg and vanilla wafer. There is a firming core of zest on the palate, which elevates flavors that perfectly replicate the aromas through a classy and lingering finish. Already worthy of the classic French seafood dishes it’s opulence cries out for, it will be more so in another year or so. 660 6-packs made.
2012 Chasseur Chardonnay “Graton’s Choice” Russian River Valley
This is a rich and layered Chardonnay, full of fruity-spicy contrasts. The nose marries scents of peach, apple, golden fig and Asian pear with notes of lemon custard, pineapple core and a hint of orange marmalade: the whole supported by creamy suggestions of vanilla wafer, baking spices and toasted hazelnut. On the palate, there is creamy a rush of youthful fruit and oaky spice balanced by plenty of citric zest. The balance of richness and youthful brightness makes the finish ultra rewarding, and if destined to improve for at least another year, it should prove a luxurious dinner companion already. 21 barrels produced.
2013 Pellet Estate Chardonnay Sunchase Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Both rich and slightly exotic, the nose of this expressive bottling quickly unveils aromas of Fuji apple, white peach, pineapple core, yellow rose, mock orange, brioche, vanilla wafer and a hint of toasted coconut. There is a more stylish palate-feel that the aromas suggest, yet all the promised flavors are forthcoming and lingering, with notes of cantaloupe and coconut cream pie added-on at the finish. Delicious by itself, it will find harmony with a wide variety of fish and fowl entrees. 175 cases produced.
2013 Radio Coteau Chardonnay Savoy Vineyard Anderson Valley Mendocino
Big-scale from start to finish, this is nevertheless a well-balanced wine which has the zest and mineral counterpoints to carry it’s weight. The nose is creamy-rich, with fruit notes of baked apple, white peach Asian pear, tangerine zest, pineapple core and white rose, over vanilla wafer, brioche, hints of white pepper and some “river stone” minerality. It is as creamy as expected on the palate, with huge body and apple, peach pineapple, citrus, vanilla cream pie and toasted hazelnut flavors that linger. If better next year, if gives lots of rich pleasure right now. 400 cases made.
2013 Peirson Meyer Chardonnay Charles Heintz Vineyard Sonoma Coast
Creaminess and citric spice are counter-pointed in this lovely Chardonnay. The nose marries rich white and yellow peach notes to equally plush scents of pineapple soufflé, vanilla cream pie, toasted nuts and coconut, with orange and lemon zest notes adding background spice. Things are as complex and juicy on the palate, where ripe peach, tarte tatin, golden fig and Asian pear flavors rise toe to toe with others of lemon curd, pineapple soufflé, brioche, nutmeg, lemon zest and some orange marmalade and toasted coconut. Lingering and balanced, despite all the richness, this one should get better and better over the next two years. It deserves the companionship of full flavored entrees. 200 cases produced.
2004 Kathryn Kennedy Sparkling Blanc de Blanc “Cuvee 27" Santa Cruz Mountains
Delicious, wonderfully aromatic, exquisitely balanced and altogether distinctive, this is an absurdly underpriced bubbly. The nose is an enchanting perfume of sweet apple sauce, apple skin, yellow peach pit, white peach, yellow rose, and honeysuckle wrapped in cashmere-like layers of chestnut honey, toasted meringue, creme brûlée and a suggestions of marzipan. It is airily feminine and surprisingly zesty-minerally on the palate, where the texture has a sleek raciness to counterpoint the wines penetrating flavors of Meyer lemon zest, fresh apple, white peach, quince sorbet and it’s “riverstone” mineral undercurrents. The finish poises bright lemon-mineral notes versus a lingering wave of white peach, chestnut honey, hazelnut and creme brûlée Ready to drink, it is aristocratic from start to finish. 600 6-packs produced. This wine is disgorged as needed!