2009 Anaba Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
14.3% alc., $28.
Pale golden straw color and clear in the glass.
Green apple and pharmaceutical aromas. An austere wine with very little flavor offering demure notes of
apple, lemon water and subtle oak. Crisp and easy drinking but lacks interest. Decent.
2010 Anaba Denmark Vineyard Wente Clone Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
14.3% alc., $37.
Pale golden straw color and clear in the glass. Interesting
aromatic profile offering scents of dried mango, lemon curd, ocean air, lees and
seasoned oak. Nicely flavored, featuring lemon zest, pastry cream and butter.
On the austere side but more interesting than the Sonoma Coast bottling with
lively acidity and some length on the finish. Good (+).
2009 Domaine Serene Clos du Soleil Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Oregon Chardonnay
$45. Dijon clone 76 from a 4-acre vineyard at 650-700 feet elevation. Barrel fermented and aged on the lees.
Light straw yellow color in the glass. Shy but pleasing aromas of apple, lemon zest, and tropical fruit
assortment. Crisp and juicy baked apple, citrus and caramel flavors in a delicate style. The oak is
complimentary without being indulgent. Very good.
2009 Dunstan Durell Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay
14.4% alc., $39.95.
Golden yellow color and clear in the glass.
Oak-driven aromas of toffee, butterscotch, allspice and mocha java with baked pear in the background. Tasty
middleweight flavors of baked pear, baked apple, honey, oak toast and minerals with good fullness and
roundness. The heavy oak influence is not for me personally, but the wine is well crafted in its style. Good (+).
2010 Envolve Carneros Chardonnay
14.1% alc., $24.99.
color and clear in the glass. Appealing scents of baked apple pie, toffee
and caramel. Flavors of honeycomb, green apple, pineapple, toffee and
oak. A wine of considerable nuance, leaning a little heavy on oak, with
reasonably good length on the refreshing finish. Good (+).
2010 Epilogue North Coast Chardonnay
14.1% alc., $13.99.
Very light straw color and clear in the glass.
Aromas of pear, lemon curd and vanilla, fading over time in the glass. A light, crisp style with pear, apple,
honey and subtle oak flavors, accented by a flinty, minerally note. Decent.
2010 Fogdog Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
13.5% alc., pH
3.38, TA 0.75, 1,470 cases, $35. Sourced from independent
growers (67%) and Freestone estate vineyards (33%). Aged 8
months in 20% new and 7% two to three-year old French oak
Light yellow in color and slightly cloudy. Uplifting aromas
of lemon curd, pomelo and baked apple. Delicious flavors of
lemon tart, white pear and subtle oak with bright acidity driving the wine.
Finishes soft and creamy. A very classy wine at this price point.
2009 Fort Ross Fort Ross Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
14.5% alc., 800 cases, $26.99.
From a 50-acre vineyard at 1200 to 1700 feet elevation, one mile from the coast above the coastal fog.
Winemaker is Jeff Pisoni.
Light golden straw color and slightly cloudy in the glass. Aromas of golden
apple, lemon curd and seasoned oak. Tasty core of baked apple, oak spice, and nutty flavors. Polished
and well-crafted. Very good.
2010 High Flyer Sierra Madre Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
14.7% alc., 550 cases, $28. One of three wine brands from Somerston Wine
Co., made under the direction of General Manager and Winemaker Craig
Light straw color and clear in the glass. Peach, honey, butter, roasted
nuts, and yeast aromas are featured. Tasty core of baked apple, citrus and
vanilla wafer flavors in a restrained, demure style, finishing with a good cut of
citrus that makes an enjoyable impression. Very good.
2009 LIOCO Demuth Vineyard Anderson Valley Chardonnay
12.6% alc., pH
3.46, TA 0.66, $35. Whole cluster pressed, cold fermentation in stainless steel
tanks, no oak, wild yeast, natural MLF, 6-month fine lees contact without fining or filtration. Wente clone on
original rootstock planted in 1982 at 1600 feet above the Anderson Valley. Shallow clay over fractured rock
leads to low yields.
Light yellow color and very slightly cloudy in the glass. Aromas of spiced pear, honey,
gardenia and ocean air. Very light and transcendent in the mouth with flavors of Meyer lemon, green apple,
and nori, finishing tart and lemony. Picked at low Brix to produce a lean, acidic style. Very good (-).
2010 Lucia Soberanes Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay
14.5% alc., $45. Inaugural bottling
from this vineyard.
Light straw color in the glass. Aromas of apple, roasted nuts, fresh brioche and lemon
curd. Mid weight flavors of baked apple with a hint of citrus. Slightly creamy and smooth on the palate with
juicy finishing acidity. Very good
This is the newest vineyard from the Gary Pisoni and Gary Franscioni families, consisting of 40
acres of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah on the Santa Lucia Highlands bench about 9 miles
north of Pisoni Vineyards.
The vineyard is named after José Maria Soberanes, who pitched a tent on this site when trekking
from Mexico with the Portola expedition of 1769. His son, Feliciano, acquired the rancho as
repayment for forty horses, fifty head of cattle, four oxen, and some sheep. The area was then
called El Camp Real del Chocolate or Chocolate Camp.
The vineyard is blanketed by fog every morning at about 450 feet elevation, conditions that allow
low temperatures for slow ripening of grapes. The rocky soils are ideal for wine grapes.
Row direction runs from north to south to have more uniform sun exposure with tight spacing of
vines. Multiple clonal material was used for the Chardonnay block.
Wineries sourcing Chardonnay from Soberanes Vineyard include Bernardus, Black Kite, Brack
Mountain, Lucia (Pisoni Family), ROAR (Franscioni family) and Testarossa.
2010 Olivia Brion Heron Lake Vineyard Wild Horse Valley Chardonnay
14.3% alc., 300 cases, $40. Native yeast ferments. Aged
16 months in Latour and Francois Frères oak barrels.
Light straw color
and very slight haze in the glass. Demure aromas of lemon, green apple,
petrichor and ocean spray. Delicious core of baked Bosq pear, caramel,
honey and very subtle oak. Reserved but seductive with a creamy,
spirited finish. A very classy, black tie wine that keeps everything in perspective.