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Notable Chardonnays

Listed here are all of the Chardonnays that The Prince feels deserve special mention.

Show Chardonnays graded:
Show all notable Chardonnays. (139 wines)
Golden Geek The Golden Geek icon indicates exceptional quality.
(76 wines)
Golden Value The Golden Value icon indicates quality at a value price.
(76 wines)
Golden Geek The Golden Geek/Value icon indicates exceptional quality at a value price.
(13 wines)

2012 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc

13.9% alc., $32. This wine is especially noteworthy as it is sourced from 20 to 25-year-old vines, contains the Sauvignon Musque clone that lends depth and aromatic interest, and is packaged in a provocative label. The wine is barrel fermented with lees stirring, giving it an uncommon richness and complexity on the palate. · Moderate straw color and clear in the glass. Perfumed with lychee and floral notes, tasting of fresh melon, pear and pink grapefruit, and laced with bright acidity, this wine is highly versatile at the table. This beautifully crafted wine has none of the unpleasant grassiness found in many Sauvignon Blancs. One of my top two California Sauvignon Blancs. Reviewed June 23, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 McIntyre Vineyards Estate 25th Anniversary Edition Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

14.4% alc., pH 3.76, TA 0.58, 792 cases, $28. Released December 2013. From a block of clone 76 planted in 2000. VSP trellis with cluster thinning. Harvest Brix 25.0º Brix. Whole cluster pressed, 20% whole cluster, fermented in new Siruge French oak barrels and aged in 33% new French oak barrels for 10 months. 100% MLF. · Moderate straw color in the glass. Lovely aromas of lemon, tropical fruits, floral display and a hint of buttered popcorn. A Caliesque style of Chardonnay with plenty of showy fruit flavor including lemon, pear and pineapple. Seductively creamy on the palate with bright underlying acidity and a silky finish. I couldn’t help returning to the glass to take another sip. A complete charmer at a very attractive price. Score: 94. Reviewed February 4, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Pfendler Vineyards Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.2% alc., pH 3.58, TA 0.618, 300 cases, $38. Clones 4 and Hyde-Wente. Brix at harvest 24º 100% barrel fermented and 100% malolactic fermentation. 8 months sur lees aging and 10 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderate golden yellow color with a slight haze (unfiltered) in the glass. An array of appealing aromas emerge over time in the glass including lemon, grilled grapefruit, fresh brioche, pastry cream and toffee. Delicious core of discreetly rich lemon, grapefruit and pineapple fruits accented with a buttery toffee note. Crisp on the palate with a slight creamy texture and a bright, refreshing finish. The wine became more appealing over time in the glass to the point that I hated to stop sipping. My wife, who is quite the Chardonnay connoisseur, loved this wine as well. Score: 94. Reviewed March 29, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Aubert CIX Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

15.0% alc.,600 case, $90. This vineyard is planted with the Reuling selection of Chardonnay in 2007. It is located adjacent Lauren Vineyard. · Light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Wondrous aromas of apple, lemon, pineapple, stone, almond and steel displaying impressive intensity and penetrating quality over time in the glass. A remarkably flavorful wine with notes of lemon curd, baked apple, peach, spice, cashew butter, burnt caramel, nutty oak, and honey with moderate richness. Beautiful oak integration in an unctuous style that is still impeccably balanced. There is no sense of high alcohol in this wine. A distinguished wine offering a bold expression of California Chardonnay. This wine has the balance to last upwards of 10 years. Score: 95. Reviewed April 19, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Arista Ferrington Anderson Valley Gewürztraminer

14.1% alc., pH 3.38, TA 0.58, 225 cases, $28. I don’t usually review this variety, but Arista’s version is a winner and I would like to spread the love. One of the best Alsatian styled Gewürztraminer wines among the very few offered from California. The Ferrington Vineyard is owned by Kurt and heather Schoeneman who purchased the vineyard in 1997. It is planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Gewürztraminer, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc, rooted in decomposed sandstone and clay soils. This wine is 85% tank fermented and 15% barrel fermented. · Pale gold color and clear in the glass. Very fragrant with typical aromas of tropical fruits, lychee and spice. Delicious flavors of mango, crabapple, lychee and pear with a sense of minerality in the background. Slightly viscous, lively and bone dry. Reviewed July 23, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Anam Cara Cellars Nicholas Estate Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Chardonnay

13.5% alc., $26, screwcap. Inaugural Chardonnay from Anam Cara. Estate Dijon clone grapes. Fermented 70% in neutral oak and 30% in stainless steel. · Light straw color in the glass. A ravishing wine with bright aromas of white peach, passion fruit, lemon curd, apple cider and fir tree. Delicious, fresh, crisp and lively, with flavors of nectarine, baked apple, lemon, and a little nuttiness and minerality. The oak is kept under wraps, the texture is seamless, and the finish is long and refreshing. One of the best Oregon Chardonnays I have had in my recent memory. Reviewed November 24, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Big Table Farm Willamette Valley Chardonnay

12.8% alc., 136 cases, $42. This is no surprise as Brian has worked extensively with Chardonnay at Neyers Vineyards and Marcassin in the past. 60% of the fruit is from Bieze Vineyard which shares a fence with Seven Springs Vineyard. The balance of the blend is from the Wirtz Vineyard which dates to the early 1970s. Barrel fermented in mixed aged French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered and not cold stabilized. Label is adorned with bees courtesy of Clare and her hives. · Light straw color and clear in the glass. Brilliant aromas of fresh applesauce, the air after a rain, and graphite. Appealing flavors of baked apples, pear and lemony citrus. Slightly creamy on the palate with a refreshing lift of acidity on the finish. Not a showy or dolled-up wine, put pure and modest. One of the better Chardonnays I have had from Oregon. Bring on the oysters! Reviewed April 13, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Kosta Browne One Sixteen Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.5% alc., pH 3.32, TA 0.62, 2,191 cases, $58. Sourced from six vineyards reflecting the Green Valley of the Russian River Valley appellation. Multiple clones. Named for Highway 116 (Gravenstein Highway) that cuts through the town of Sebastopol. Barrel and partially concrete egg fermented 15 months in 40% new French oak barrels. · Moderate golden straw color and clear in the glass. Lovely aromas of honey, lemon curd, golden apple and butter brickle. Very beguiling on the palate with flavors of baked pear, apple, citrus, honey and caramel. Beautifully composed with bright acidity and good staying power on the finish. The best yet from Kosta Browne and a wine that competes with the top performers in the Russian River Valley. Reviewed June 23, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Joseph Phelps Freestone Vineyards Estate Grown Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

13.5% alc.,pH 3.31, TA 0.70, 2,150 cases, $55. 100% MLF. Aged 13 months in 40% new and 60% two to three-year-old French oak puncheons and barrels. · Light golden straw color and clear in the glass. A very embraceable wine with hi-spirited aromas of spiced apple, lemon, creme brulee and vanilla cream, and sparkling flavors of lemon curd, green apple and a hint of pear. Oak is understated but supportive. Very juicy with lively acidity and a chalky, mineral blessed finish. Reviewed June 23, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Lucia Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

14.2% alc., $39. From the Pisoni family who are better known for Pinot Noir but their Chardonnays are first rate. Year in and year out, one of my favorite California Chardonnays (and well-priced too). · Light straw color and clear in the glass. A perfect blend of fruit and oak-driven aromas and flavors featuring citrus, pear, crème brûlée, honey and caramel. Nothing stands out and the wine is in perfect focus, indicating impeccable winemaking. No quarter given to the French. Reviewed June 23, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Patz & Hall Hudson Vineyard Carneros Napa Valley Chardonnay

13.7% alc., 279 cases, $55. Released March 2013. Sourced from the 4-acre prized block that Hudson makes his own Chardonnay from. Planted in 1980, this block featurs Hudson-Wente selection isolated by Lee Hudson. Whole cluster pressed, indigenous yeast fermentation, sur lie aged with weekly stirring, aged in 55% new French oak barrels. Unfiltered. · Light golden straw color and very slight haze (unfiltered) in the glass. A serious wine offering aromas of lemon, caramel, buttered popcorn and chalk dust. Elicits a Wow! on the palate with luscious flavors of lemon, baked pear, peach honey, toffee, and pastry creme. Ideal integration of oak, notable acidity and impeccable balance. One of California’s greatest and most sophisticated Chardonnays. Reviewed June 23, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Roth Estate Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

13.7% alc., pH 3.61, TA 0.78, $28. A blend of Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley fruit. Aged sur lie 11 months in 100% French oak barrels. · Very light yellow and clear in the glass. Inviting array of tropical aromas including pineapple with hints of white peach and oak vanillin. Very enjoyable flavors of baked apple, grilled pineapple, lemon, lychee and slight burnt caramel finishing smoothly on a lemon drop note. Beautifully composed, throughly dry and refreshing. Reviewed June 23, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Gary Farrell Olivet Lane Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., pH 3.23, TA 0.74, 315 cases, $45. Release May 2013. Sourced from the Pellegrini Family’s Olivet Lane Vineyard that was originally planted in 1975 on the Santa Rosa Plain. This 65- acre vineyard was one of the first in the Russian River Valley planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The clone is Wente selection on AXR rootstock. The regular fog intrusion and well-drained clay loam soils are ideal for growing Chardonnay. Aged 7 months in 40% new French oak barrels. Inaugural release from this vineyard and what a winner! · Light golden straw color and clear in the glass. Aromas of lemon, honey, pineapple and buttery oak lead to a delicious fruit-charged wine with a bevy of citrus, lemongrass and caramel flavors lifted by an hi-tone cut of acidity. A seductive creaminess adds to the appeal and the tonal finish perks up the palate for more. Quintessential Russian River Valley Chardonnay with a historical pedigree. Score: 95. Reviewed July 21, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Paul Lato “East of Eden” Pisoni Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

14.5% alc., 100 cases, $65. Mostly Wente clone. 50% malolactic fermentation. Filtered. Aged in 75% new French oak barrels. · Moderate golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Very aromatically enticing with scents of lemon curd, baked apple, and Acacia blossom. Bright and crisp on the palate, offering flavors of citrus, baked pear, and vanilla with an underlying sea-brine minerality. A big, flamboyant wine, yet beautifully balanced. Score: 94. Reviewed September 29, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Freeman Ryo-fu Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.5% alc., 450 cases, $40. A blend of two vineyards with the largest component from Keefer Ranch and a lesser amount from Heintz Vineyard (vines dating to 1982). Aged 14 months sur lies in 21% new and 79% 1, 2 and 3-year-old French oak barrels. · Light yellow color and clear in the glass. Aromas of lemon, apple and slate lead to crisp, vivid flavors of citrus, apple, white peach and oak. Plenty to like with forward fruit flavors reigned in by lively acidity, finishing on a high note with lemon-drop memories. Still fine the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Score: 94. Reviewed September 29, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Hanzell de Brye Vineyard Sonoma Valley Chardonnay

14.5% alc., pH 3.30, TA 0.69, 152 cases, $78. Bottled April 25, 2013. Inaugural release. From a vineyard planted in 1976. St. George rootstock and Hanzell clone selection massale from the original Ambassador’s 1953 Vineyard. Aged 18 months total with 12 months in 33% new French oak barrels. · Moderate golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Reserved, but complex nose, offering aromas of lemon, grilled pineapple, baked apple and hazelnut. Very creamy and harmonious on the palate with the lemon and apple fruits draping the structure such that the wine feels sleek. More body and fullness than the estate bottling with added power on the finish. Remarkably silky on the finish as well, literally slipping off the back of the palate. Still superb when tasted from a previously opened and re-corked bottle two days later. This wine is still young and will benefit from a few years of cellaring to reach its apogee. Score: 94. Reviewed October 11, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Stomping Girl Hyde Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay

13.8% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.60, 150cases, $40. First established in 1981, Hyde Vineyard is widely acclaimed. It is planted on gently rolling hills and cooled by wind and fog from nearby San Pablo Bay. The soils is well-drained ancient creek beds of clay loam and rocks. Clones are Wente Hyde Field selection and Robert Young hand harvested at 22.2º Brix just before the October rains. Whole cluster pressed, barrel fermented sur lie with regular stirring, 100% MLF, aged 11 months in 15% new French oak barrels and bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Mild yellow blonde color in the glass. The aromas of nectarine, lemon, Fuji apple and hazelnuts draw you into the glass. A very polished and sophisticated wine offering refined flavors of lemon, pineapple, green apple, and brine with a pleasing kiss of lemon on the finish. The wine’s underlying bright acidity supplies plenty of vibrancy. This wine has a Burgundian soul and reminds me of a William Fevre Les Clos Chablis Grand Cru that I recently drank. Score: 94. Reviewed October 27, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Ken Brown Nielson Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., pH 3.33, TA 0.63, 138 cases, $38. Sourced from replanted vines using cuttings from the original old vines including Wente clone. Ken has worked with this vineyard for more than 30 years. Whole cluster pressed, barrel fermented, 75% malolactic fermentation, aged sur lie 10 months in 17% new French oak barrels. · Light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. I was enchanted with the nose that offered aromas of tropical fruits, pear, buttered brioche and slate. Delicious compliment of lemon, baked pear and apple flavors with the slightest hint of complimentary French oak. The wine really brings you to attention on entry and holds on for a satisfying, acid-driven finish. Very soft in the mouth and appealing now, but has the balance for a long life in the cellar. Score: 94. Reviewed November 9, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Three Sticks Durell Vineyard Sonoma Valley Chardonnay

13.5% alc., pH 3.43, TA 0.69, 511 cases, $48. Sourced from Old Wente 1 Block, one of the oldest, coldest and windiest sections of Durell and Rocky Flat Block planted to Dijon 76. Fermented in concrete egg and oak barrels, aged in 60% new French oak barrels for 14 months. 100% malolactic fermentation. · Moderate yellow-gold color and clear in the glass. Very nicely perfumed with aromas of lemon, pear, nori and the faintest oak. A delicious wine of elegance, class and sophistication featuring vivid flavors of lemon curd, lime, spice and toasty oak. Crisp and juicy, with excellent underlying mineral-driven acidity, finishing with length and lemon goodness. I am partial to barrel fermented, 100% malolactic fermented Chardonnay, and this wine delivers without being overwrought with oak-driven accents. Score: 94. Reviewed December 18, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Failla Keefer Ranch Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.1% alc., 425 cases, $42. Very cool growing season. 25% of grapes were fermented in concrete egg vessels and 75% in 33% new French oak barrels. · Pale yellow color and clear in the glass. Appealing aromas of pear, applesauce, pastry cream, toffee and vanilla wafer. Slightly creamy and plush on the palate with vivid flavors of poached pear, baked apple, finishing with a Carmel apple note and a charge of bright acidity. This wine has the apple by the tail. Score: 94. Reviewed February 22, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Thomas Fogarty Estate Grown Langley Hill Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

13.8% alc., pH 3.13, TA 0.87, 96 cases, $60. · Moderate golden straw color and clear in the glass. Highly aromatic, with bright aromas of croissant, roasted nuts, baked apple and lemon. Plenty of intensity showing lemon curd, baked pear, apple and almond flavors backed by a lively, but integrated, cut of acidity. Very smooth in the mouth with an incredibly bombastic finish that offers waves of lemony goodness returning for what seems like a minute. I have rarely met with a finish like this in Chardonnay. On top of that, the wine is very harmonious with just the right amount of contribution from oak. Score: 94. Reviewed April 19, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Briceland Vineyards Lolonis Vineyard Mendocino County Chardonnay

Table wine, $21. Crafted from certified organically grown grapes. · Pale straw color in the glass. Fresh aromas of rocky stream, lemon curd and buttered brioche. Slightly creamy on the palate with restrained but satisfying flavors of pears, white peach and citrus complimented by subtle oak. Flows off the back of the palate like a silk sheet in retreat. Beautifully crafted. Reviewed November 2, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

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 barrels. · 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. Reviewed April 4, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

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. Reviewed April 4, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Flowers Camp Meeting Ridge Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

13.5% alc., $70. An estate vineyard situated at 1200 to 1400 feet elevation, planted to Hyde, Old Wente and Dijon 95 clones. Yields of 1.25 tons per acre. Barrel fermented in 64% new French oak barrels for 14 months. · Moderate straw color in the glass. Alluring aromas of baked pear, roasted nuts, crème brûlée and milk chocolate. Plenty of flavor intensity including juicy lemon and apple with hints of buttered brioche and sweet oak. An exceptional wine with very slight dry tannins, lively acidity, and an appealing lemon drop finish. Reviewed June 24, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 La Follette Sangiacomo Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.2% alc., pH 3.57, TA 0.63, 560 cases, $38. From the cold climate Petaluma Gap. Planted in 1998, the Roberts Road block is rooted in the alluvial soils of Copeland Creek with tracks of gravel. Predominantly Old Wente selection. Made in a Burgundian reductive style with native yeasts. Aged 10 months sur lie with gentle stirring of the barrels. · Light straw color in the glass. Complex perfume of lemon curd, petrichor, Asian pear, ripe pineapple, roasted hazelnuts, and subtle oak. Delicious flavors of baked pear, citrus, and green apple, with perfectly integrated and supportive oak. Juicy and spirited, making you reach for another sip. La Follette is a master of Chardonnay. Reviewed June 24, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Sonoma-Loeb Envoy Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.5% alc., pH 3.66, TA 0.56, $40. Sourced from plantings of Rued clone and Robert Young clone at Dutton Ranch. 80% malolactic fermentation, aged in 50% new French oak barrels. · Light straw color and clear. Demure but very pleasant aromas of lemon curd, Asian pear, and citrus peel leading to flavors of baked pear, pineapple, brioche, toast and baking spice. Slightly creamy on the palate and impeccably balanced. A little richer than the Carneros bottling with slightly more length on the finish. Like this wine for its polish and exuberance. Reviewed June 24, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Ulises Valdez U.V. El Diablo Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.7% alc., $50.Barrel fermented, 100% MLF. · Light straw color with slight haze (unfiltered) in the glass. Aromatically pleasing with notes of yeast, buttered popcorn, white peach and citrus peel. Very tasty core of baked pear, apple, pie crust and tropical fruit flavors with complimentary oak. Crisp and lively with a hint of tannin and a dry finish. A dead wringer for one of Aubert’s top Chardonnays. Reviewed July 23, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Patz & Hall Hudson Vineyard Napa Carneros Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 454 cases, $55. Hudson Vineyard was founded in the 1980s by Lee Hudson and is considered one of the grand cru sites in Carneros. Sourced from a 4-acre block that is planted to the Hudson- Wente selection. Whole cluster pressed, indigenous fermentations, aged sur lie with weekly stirring, 100% malolactic fermentation in barrel, aged in 60% new French oak barrels, and bottled without filtration. · Light straw color in the glass. The wine draws you in with appealing aromas of honey, lemon curd, roasted almonds and toasty oak. Moderately rich on the attack with luscious flavors of baked pear, lemon peel, and toffee, finishing soft and comforting with a refreshing brightness due to harmonious citrus-driven acidity. Choose any superlative you want. A masterpiece and one of the greatest California Chardonnays I have tasted this year. Reviewed October 2, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Lucia Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

14.1% alc., $40. Sourced from three small blocks at Pisoni Vineyards and vinified by Jeff Pisoni. Few wine connoisseurs are aware of the tiny amount of Chardonnay on the Pisoni property that was originally planted in 1982. · Light straw color in the glass. Aromas and flavors of baked pear, crème brûlée, pineapple and lemony citrus. A moderately rich style made with full malolactic barrel fermentation and barrel aging sur lie. Fresh, satisfying and thoroughly user friendly, displaying perfect integration of oak and overall impeccable balance. One of my favorite California Chardonnays and a great value. Reviewed October 26, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Sea Smoke Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay

14.6% alc., pH 3.37, TA 0.68, $59. Released October 2012. Exclusively Sea Smoke Estate Vineyard. Predominantly Wente clone with smaller amounts of Dijon clones 76, 95 and 96. Aged 16 months in 55% new French oak barrels. · Light straw color and clear in the glass. A majestic, full-on California style Chardonnay. Aromas of lemon curd, butter brickle, and roasted nuts. Richly flavored with notes of citrus, baked pear, and toasty oak complimented by clean, crisp acidity. Sta. Rita Hills is not just Pinot Noir country, for its Chardonnays typically offer incredibly lush, chewy, hi-tone fruit backed by generous, defining acidity. For those who relish this style of Chardonnay, it doesn’t get any better. Reviewed December 8, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 DuMOL lia Russian River Valley Viognier

14.7% alc., 375 cases, $50. Released November 2011. A 3-vineyard blend from Dutton-Gregori, Hoppe-Kelly and Trenton Station vineyards. Clone 1. Yield 1.75 tons per acre from vines that are 7, 9 and 12 years old. Whole cluster pressed, barrel fermented in 20% new and 70% neutral French oak barrels, and 10% stainless steel barrels. Aged on lees for 9 months. · Medium straw color and clear in the glass. Quite aromatic, with scents of tropical fruits including dried mango and guava, lemon curd, ginger and brioche. An Alsatian style wine with a delicious core of tropical fruits including grilled pineapple with an appealing sidecar of toast, honey, nuts and vanilla. Slightly creamy in texture, finishing with aplomb and focus. Terrific! Reviewed February 27, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 DuMOL isobel Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.9% alc., 955 cases, $60. Released November 2012. Sourced from Charles Heintz Vineyard, UCD 108. Yield 3.5 tons per acre from wines that are 29 years old. Complete malolactic fermentation and 15 months aging in 40% new French oak barrels. · Light straw color and clear in the glass. Very fresh scent of lemon, grilled peach, pear and savory herbs. Remarkable palate presence with impressive energy and a vibrant lift of acidity on the extended finish. The peach, lemon and nutty flavors are complimented by a touch of caramelized oak and really grab your attention. Very flavorful, but has the balance and restraint to pair beautifully with food. Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay is my paramour. Reviewed February 27, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 DuMOL chloe Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 1.130 cases, $60. Released November 2012. Sourced from Ritchie Vineyard, Wente selection. Yield 3 tons per acre from 38- year-old vines. Complete malolactic fermentation and 15 months aging in 50% new French oak barrels. · Light straw color and clear in the glass. Very expressive nose, offering aromas of lemon blossom, tangerine, croissant and almonds. Soft in the mouth, with plenty of pear, white peach and lemon flavor augmented by minerality. Faint toasty oak frames the wine which leaves a lingering impression on the finish. Did I mention the marvelous mouth feel? Reviewed February 27, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Windy Oaks Estate One Acre Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

13.9% alc., $39. Barrel fermented for a minimum of 15 months in French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. Reviewed at home. · Golden straw color in the glass. Aromas of lemon, flint, iron, croissant and oak. Creamy on the palate, with refined flavors of fresh citrus fruits, peaches on the grill, vanilla cream, oak and a touch of iron. Very soft in the mouth with nicely integrated acidity. Less fruit-driven than previous vintages, but more refined, sophisticated and mineral-inspired. Reviewed April 13, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Benovia La Pommeraie Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.5% alc., $43. · Light straw color and clear in the glass. Moderately rich and very Russian River Valley in character, yet has enough restraint to appeal. Aromas and flavors of fresh apple, citrus, honey and brioche. Like biting into a juicy, ripe caramel apple on a stick. Beautifully balanced with just the right amount of oak. Reviewed April 13, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Knez Demuth Vineyard Anderson Valley Chardonnay

13.2% alc., $37. · A very appealing wine that is not gussied up with oak and is highly flavorful. Lemon and green apple aromas and flavors are featured with a faint note of fresh brioche. Crisp, bright and refreshing, like biting into a ripe green apple. Very charming. This is a Grand Cru level old vine Chardonnay vineyard. Reviewed April 13, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Patz & Hall Hyde Vineyard Carneros Napa Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 1,364 case, $58. Released October 2012. Fifteenth vintage from this vineyard first planted in 1981. This vineyard shines in both hot and cool years. Hyde-Wente selection planted exclusively for Patz & Hall on the best soils at Hyde Vineyard. Very well-drained sandy, clay loam which typically produces low vigor and low yields. Whole cluster pressed, indigenous yeast fermentations, aged sur lie with weekly stirring, 100% MLF in barrel, aged in 52% new Burgundian French oak barrels. Unfiltered. · Light golden straw color and clear in the glass. Perfumey with attractive aromas of lemongrass, honey, pear and fresh air after a rain. Very classy, and of striking quality, with flavors of lemons, apples and oak-driven caramel and honey. Seamless, bone dry and done right. This is a wine that drinks so softly, you want to take another sip right away. Sublime seduction and one of California’s greatest Chardonnays. Reviewed May 5, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Hanzell Sonoma Valley Chardonnay

14.5% alc., pH 3.20, TA 0.72, 2,329 cases, $75. Cold, wet spring with rains causing a fair bit of shatter. Yields down over twenty percent. Summer temperatures were mild. Harvest extended from September 13 to 28. Select barrels were included in this final blend. · Light straw color and clear in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of lemon drop, peach, buttery brioche and chalk dust. The palate-staining flavors really pique your interest by their depth, offering notes of baked pear, green apple, grilled grapefruit and roasted nuts. Juicy and seductive with lively acidity, this wine is superb in every way. I rarely talk of finish in Chardonnay but this wine offers superb closing intensity and length . An outstanding wine that makes you want to clap. Score: 95. Reviewed July 21, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Thomas Fogarty Langley Hill Vineyard Estate Grown Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

12.9% alc., pH 3.40, TA 0.60, 95 cases, $56. The Langley Hill is the large plot of estate Chardonnay (5.25 acres). It occupies a steep hillside at 1925 feet elevation, and is a very cool site. Loam, sandstone, shale and marine deposits in the soil. Harvest was the latest in the nearly 30 year history of Thomas Fogarty, picking well into November. Whole-cluster pressed followed by a cool barrel fermentation. Aged 18 months in 100% new French oak barrels. · Light golden yellow and clear in the glass. I like oak with my Chardonnay and it adds just the right character in this wine. Aromas of grilled yellow peach, cashew butter, roasted almonds and ocean air. Delicious primary fruit flavors of peach, pear, and lemon, with secondary flavors of toasted brioche and honey, holding on with some persistence on the finish. Very clean and uplifting with palate cleansing acidity and a brisk, satisfying finish. One of the best Chardonnays I have tasted in recent memory. My wife also went ga-ga over this wine and some have tabbed her the “Queen of Chardonnay.” Score: 95. Reviewed July 21, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Rhys Alpine Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

13.2% alc., $69. From 1.73 acres planted to Hyde, Wente and Dijon clones at 1,230 to 1,400 feet elevation. 24” of top soil over soft shale. Grapes are slowly whole cluster pressed for 4 hours. The must is settled overnight and barrels filled in morning. 20-25% new French oak barrels are used. The wine is left undisturbed in cask without stirring to complete native yeast fermentation that sometimes can take an entire year. · Golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Appealing aromas of lemon peel, pineapple, slate and a hint of nutty, buttery oak. Delicious core of yellow apple and lemon flavors with a hint of butter brickle and oak. The fruit really pops in the mouth and hangs on for a very long and glorious finish. Juicy, crisp and thoroughly satisfying in every way. Yum. Held up beautifully in an opened and re-corked bottle finished over two days. One of the best California Chardonnays I have ever tasted. Score: 96. Reviewed September 29, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Rhys Alpine Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

13.4% alc., $69. From 3.51 acres of tightly spaced vines planted on low vigor rootstock onto which are grafted a field mixture of heritage selections of Chardonnay (Wente, Hyde, Mt. Eden). Soils are 18” - 24” rocky topsoil over Monterey Shale. Gently whole cluster pressed for 4 hours. The must is settled overnight and in the morning the barrels are filled by gravity. 20-25% new French oak barrels are used. The wine is left undisturbed in barrel without stirring, completing a native yeast fermentation that can sometimes take an entire year. · Golden yellow color and clear in the glass. This is a subtle wine that reveals many nuances over time if you are patient. There is a clear vein of “minerality” running through this wine evident in the sea brine aromas and the vibrant underlying acidity. The flavors of apple, white peach, crème brûlée, and a hint of butterscotch are inviting, and the silky texture of the wine is dreamy. There is some finishing length as well, uncommon in many Chardonnays from California. With the modest alcohol and bright acidity, this is an ideal food wine, but it is wonderful on its own. Should be even more interesting in a few years. For connoisseur’s only. Score: 95. Reviewed January 20, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Lucia Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

14.1% alc., 435 cases, $40. Produced from three small blacks at Pisoni Vineyard planted in 1982 using a prestigious Montrachet selection from a famous producer in Burgundy. Unfiltered. · Light golden straw color and clear in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of pears, papaya, banana and brioche. Delicious flavors of pears, creme brulee, white peaches and light caramels. Soft and slight creamy with no hard edges and commendable balance. Fruit is emphasized over acidity. Will have many fans. Very good. Reviewed May 15, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Chanin Wine Company Los Alamos Vineyard Santa Barbara County Chardonnay

13.4% alc., 150 cases, $30. · Light straw color and clear in the glass. Fresh and vivid aromas of apples, baked pear, sawdust and fresh brioche. Bright, crisp and juicy flavors sing the same tune ending with a lively and refreshing citrus-imbued finish. The wine keeps pumping out charm over time in the glass. An excellent food wine that is all you can ask for in a California Chardonnay. I ran out and bought a half case. Reviewed November 2, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Amalie Robert Heirloom Cameo Estate Bottled Oregon Chardonnay

14.5% alc., 80 cases, $50. Two-thirds Dijon clone 76 and one-third Dijon clone 95. I haven’t tasted many Oregon Chardonnays, but I do taste quite a few California Chardonnays, and this wine made quite an impression on me. If this wine is indicative of Oregon’s potential for Chardonnay, more Oregon wineries should feature this varietal. Although I enjoy Pinot Gris for what it is and understand it is Oregon’s signature white wine, Chardonnay can potentially offer more sophisticated drinking. · Light straw color and clear in the glass. Enticing aromas of white peaches, lemon curd, white pears and buttery oak. Delicious and juicy array of white peach, Asian pear, baked apple and pineapple flavors, honed with just the right amount of mineral-driven acidity for brightness, and offering a silky mouth feel that excites the senses. A classic, and maybe the best Oregon Chardonnay I have ever had. Reviewed November 2, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Freestone Pastorale Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.1% alc., 210 cases, $75. From the best block planted at Pastorale Vineyard and contains two heirloom selections. 100% MLF. Aged 16 months in 65% new and 35% two to three-year-old French oak barrels. · Light straw yellow color and clear in the glass. More reserved and sophisticated than the Estate Grown Chardonnay with aromas of white peaches, creme brulee, slate and parchment. Understated but alluring with layers of interest including flavors of baked apples, lemon meringue pie, and toffee with a special underpinning of minerals. Seamless, with great balance, finishing with a welcoming riff of citrusy acidity, urging on the drinker to take another sip. Reviewed November 29, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Patz & Hall Hyde Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 896 cases, $55. Hyde Vineyard is an iconic source of Chardonnay in Carneros. The Hyde-Wente selection in this wine is planted on sandy, clay loam, offering very low vigor and excellent drainage. · Light straw color in the glass. Interesting aromatics featuring scents of orange peel, walnuts, vitamins, shoe box and petrichor. Reserved and suave on the palate with citrus flavors accented by notes of baked apple, pear and baking spices. Slightly creamy with bright mineral-driven acidity on the refreshingly crisp finish. Reviewed January 11, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 DuMOL isobel Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.3% alc., 1,174 cases, $60. Sourced from old-vine Charles Heintz Vineyard in the Green Valley. Aged 18 months sur lie. · Light golden straw color in the glass. Aromas of quince, lychee, baked apple, flint, and subtle oak-driven scents of buttered popcorn and toffee. Delicious flavors of apple pan dowdy, honey, citrus and toffee with a slight tropical fruit riff offered in a discreet and charming style. Impressive finishing show for a Chardonnay. Still great two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. I had a second bottle at a restaurant a week later with lunch and it was even better accompanied by a persimmon-studied very lightly dressed salad. I have had more great Chardonnay drinking experiences from Charles Heintz Vineyard than any other vineyard in California. Reviewed January 12, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Hirsch Vineyards Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.0% alc., pH 3.32, TA 0.63, 725 cases, $75. Four vinification processes: fermented and aged on glass, oak and stainless steel and fermented on stainless steel and aged in oak. All four components were blended and racked to mostly neutral French oak barrels 9 months before bottling. · Medium golden straw color in the glass. Beautifully perfumed with scents of pear, lemon curd, bark, roasted nuts and honey. Delicious spectrum of flavors including pears, baked apples, and creme brulee with a striking aciddriven minerality on the back end. Medium weighted richness with a very smooth texture offering exceptional freshness and refreshing acidity. I have had some stunning Chardonnays from the Sonoma Coast of late and this one may take the cake. Reviewed February 22, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 La Follette Manchester Ridge Vineyard Mendocino Ridge Chardonnay

14.2% alc., pH 3.73, TA 0.60, 499 cases, $48. Three clones: Dijon 76, Old Wente, and the newer Dijon 809. Clones vinified separately. De-stemmed, crushed and skins held in contact with the juice for a number of hours to increase aromatics. Native fermentation for Old Wente and 76 clones. Inoculated with a yeast that heightens the perfume of the 809 clone. Aged sur lies with early battonage. Bottled unfiltered. · Light straw color in the glass. Aromas of damp forest floor, baked pear, papaya and light caramel. Intense flavors of white peach, pear, and lemon drop with an underlying earthiness and minerality. Slightly creamy with bright acidity, barely perceptible tannins, and a bold, long finish. The richness, complexity and length really challenge the senses. Reviewed June 24, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Johan Vineyards Estate Reserve Willamette Valley Chardonnay

12.5% alc., pH 3.36, TA 0.59, 142 cases, $33. Released November 2011. A winemaker selection of a blend of Dijon clones 76 and 95. Fermented with native yeasts in 50% new French oak with lees stirring, and aged 18 months where it underwent 100% MLF. The wine was bottle aged an additional 7 months before release. Minimal sulfite additions. Unfiltered. · Pale straw color in the glass with slight cloudiness (bottled with lees). Attractive scent of lemon custard and buttered brioche. Fresh and frisky, with delicious flavors of lemon, pear, apple, pineapple and yeasty goodness, silky textured, finishing with a good cut of acidity. One of the more impressive Oregon Chardonnays I have sampled. Reviewed January 19, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Hanzell Sonoma Valley Chardonnay

14.5% alc., $75. · Very light straw color and clear in the glass. Initially reduction aromas of struck match, resolving over time to reveal scents of straw bale, alfalfa, autumn leaves and roasted nuts. A seamless wine that enters with tasty flavors of lemon, pear and peanuts and exits with a lemony riff. Slightly crusty and salty. Very good acid backbone leads the drinker to another sip. Finishes impressively with great vigor and focus. Should age extremely well. Reviewed April 13, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Fess Parker Ashley’s Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay

14.3% alc., $22. Ashley’s Vineyard was planted in 1997 and was named after Fess Parker’s daughter. The vineyard has been sold to Foley and is now split into Lindsay’s Vineyard (red varieties) and Courtney’s Vineyard (white varieties including Mt. Eden clone of Chardonnay), both part of Rancho Las Hermanas, but Fess Parker retains the “Ashley’s” designation. The vineyards span 213 planted acres. · Straw color in the glass. Nicely appointed nose featuring scents of green apple, pear, cinnamon spice, and a hint of oak toast. Very tasty essence of white stone fruits in a seamless style with a well-proportioned acid backbone. Very clean on the finish, drawing the drinker to take another sip. California Chardonnay at its finest. Because of the name, many wine geeks do not take the winery seriously, but I am here to tell you that this is a label worth exploring for all of its varietals. Reviewed August 24, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Alysian Cresta Ridge Vineyard Taurin Block Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.1% alc., pH 3.47, 378 cases, $38. Gary Farrell’s 2008 lineup of wines are very impressive. Sourced from a Green Valley vineyard. 100% barrel fermented, 50% MLF in barrel. Aged 10 months in 40% new and 60% one and two-year-old French oak barrels. Sold only through a mailing list. · Light straw color in the glass. Fresh aromas of white stone fruits, butterscotch and buttered toast. Delicious and persistent moderately rich mix of flavors including pears, white peach, green apple, biscuit and maple syrup framed by lively acidity with a subtle note of oak in the background. Uncommon tenacity of flavor for a Chardonnay. Everything is singing in harmony and this wine is just my style. Reviewed November 24, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Freestone Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

13.5% alc., 800 cases, $55. Composed of 100% estate grown fruit. · Light straw color and clear in the glass. Demure scents of spiced apples and white peaches. The apple, peach, citrus and pear flavors flood the mouth with flavor, but the wine has an appealing modesty. Slightly viscous in texture, there is no oak intrusion, and bright acidity brings the fruit into focus. A very classy Chardonnay with modest alcohol that adds to the appeal. Reviewed December 14, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Freestone Pastorale Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

13.5% alc., 50 cases, $100. Before pressing, the whole grape clusters were lightly crushed by stomping on the grapes in the bins to liberate some grape solids and facilitate the extraction process during pressing. After native yeast fermentation, the wine was aged 16 months in a large oak puncheon, with bi-monthly bâtonnage. · Light golden, clear straw color in the glass. Needs some coaxing to open in the glass, but over time offers an alluring perfume of apple pandowdy, Asian pear and buttered toast. Similar in flavor profile to the Sonoma Coast bottling, but with added notes of roasted nuts, minerals and lemon zest. A sneaky wine that picks up intensity and interest with swirling in the glass and provides a full-on explosion of flavor after 30 minutes. A subtle creaminess and hi-tone acidity add to the appeal. Worth the tab for serious Chardonnay aficionados and in the same class as other top producers of Chardonnay in California such as Peter Michael, Kistler, Littorai, Hanzell and Ramey. Reviewed December 14, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Rhys Vineyards Alpine Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

13.3% alc., $59. Hyde and Wente selections, 76 and 96 clones planted to 6’ x 4’ at 1380 feet on soils with top soil over soft shale. Yield of 1.8 tons per acre. · Moderately light golden yellow color. Lovely perfume of lemon curd, white stone fruits and stewed apples. Delicious and layered, with notes of green apple, pears, brioche and toast. The wine has a bright steeliness due to the lively acidity. A beautiful wine that packs in plenty of flavor at modest alcohol: a win-win situation. Will age. Reviewed January 27, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Lucia Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

14.1% alc., $35. From three small blocks at Pisoni Vineyards. Few connoisseurs are aware of the tiny parcels of Chardonnay on the property. Originally planted in 19082, these old Chardonnay vines prosper in the cool climate. · Medium straw color in the glass. Aromas of ripe pears, pineapple and honeyed biscuit. Delicious baked pear, apple pie and toasted brioche flavors with a citrus high note in the background. Smooth and silky with some persistence on the finish. A warmer climate style not particularly high in acid or minerality but thoroughly delightful. Reviewed May 15, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 The Eyrie Vineyards Estate Pinot Gris

13.5% alc., $14.50. · Moderate straw color in the glass. Aromas of tropical fruits, wax and roasted nuts. Richly flavored notes of apricot, apple and citrus sustaining to the generous finish. Mildly viscous mouth feel with bright acidity. Well-made with admirable balance. The benchmark for Oregon Pinot Gris. Serve with a spinach souffle, salad with cheese, or mild fish. Reviewed June 10, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Bjørnstad Cellars Barbed Oak Vineyard Bennett Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 115 cases, $30. Release 12/11. Golden straw color with slight haze (unfiltered) in the glass. · Terrific nose offering scents of petrichor, crabapple and poached apple. Varied flavors including peaches, bananas foster, brown butter, roasted nuts and a hint of citrus. A uniquely flavored wine with a slightly creamy texture, finishing with a bright lift of acidity and impressive persistence of fruit. Reviewed July 1, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Bjørnstad Cellars Ritchie Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.4% alc., 129 cases, $40. Release 12/11. · Yellow-straw color with slight haze (unfiltered) in the glass. Appealing aromas of apples, roasted almonds, and subtle butter accent. Delicious core of crisp green apples, marzipan and spice. Discreet but flavorful with bright acidity that drives one to take another sip. A superb rendition from this iconic Russian River Valley Chardonnay vineyard. Reviewed July 1, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Lynmar Estate Quail Hill Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.3% alc., pH 3.38, TA 0.59, 694 cases, $40. 100% estate grown and bottled from the 42-acre Quail Hill Vineyard. Whole cluster pressed, 45% new French oak barrels, mostly native yeast fermentations, aged on the lees with weekly stirring, 100% MLF, aged 15 months. Winemaker Hugh Chapelle. · Light straw color in the glass. Aromas of lemon curd, vanilla custard, seasoned oak, buttered toast and Cracker Jack. Very tasty fruit core featuring prominent pear flavor with notes of white peach, creme brulee and tasty oak, finishing dry with a hint of caramel. Soft in the mouth, even slightly creamy. A thoroughly enjoyable wine that improves in the glass over time. Reviewed July 1, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Rudd Bacigalupi Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.6% alc., $75. This Oakville Estate winery is the only winery to produce a wine from the original 65-year-old Paris Tasting Block at Bacigalupi Vineyard. It is the only Rudd wine made from purchased fruit. This release is the ninth vintage. Each year the fruit production of this vineyard decreases due to the age of the vines. Barrel-fermented with 100% MLF. · Light straw color with mild haze (unfiltered). Invigorating aromas of lemon curd, baked pear, oak, and a hint of butter and grapefruit. Delicious flavors of white peach, pear, and complimentary toasty oak with an undertone of minerality and a riff of lemon on the lengthy finish. The creamy texture adds appeal. A spectacular offering made from vines of great historical significance that will please any Chardonnay connoisseur. Reviewed March 21, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Alysian Cresta Ridge Vineyard Taurin Block Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.1% alc., pH 3.47, 378 cases, $38. I opened a bottle of this wine recently that was first reviewed in November 2010 and I still find it compelling. 50% MLF in barrel. Aged 10 months in 40% new and 60% one and two-year-old French oak barrels. · Light straw color in the glass. Crisp and flavorful, balanced and refreshing. This wine sings with aromas of citrus fruits and baked pear, echoed on the palate with additions of pale caramel, brown butter and the right touch of oak. Drinking perfectly now and as fresh as it was upon release. Should be good to go for another five years at least. Reviewed February 27, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 LIOCO Demuth Vineyard Anderson Valley Chardonnay

13.8% alc., 225 cases, $35. The Demuth Vineyard is situated at 1,600 feet above the floor of the Anderson Valley. Wente clone is own-rooted in 1982. Whole cluster pressed, cold fermentation in stainless steel with wild yeast, natural MLF. 6 months lees contact. Unfined and unfiltered. No oak. · Terrific aromatics flashing ripe pears, green apples, warm cookies and graham. The flavors are reminiscent of a warm apple tart, with hints of apricot and toast. Smooth and creamy with a lively citric acid lift on the back end. Fresh and very bright. Reviewed September 5, 2009 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Hanzell Sonoma Valley Chardonnay

14.3% alc., 2,777 cases, $70. Several clones including Robert Young, Dijon 76 and Wente. One-third of the wine fermented and aged in new Sirugue French oak barrels where MLF was encouraged and the balance fermented cool, in stainless steel tanks where MLF was discouraged. The new barrel component was aged 18 months and the tank-fermented portion was put into two and three-year old barrels after 6 months and kept an additional 11 months before blending and bottling. 69% of the vintage was selected for the estate bottling. · Pale straw color in the glass. Delicate, yet complex aromatic profile that picks up intensity with time in the glass to reveal scents of white peaches, crushed stones, toasted brioche and lemon tart. This high-collared wine strikes a perfect balance between welcoming finesse and impressive finishing strength and persistence. Smoothly textured with a well proportioned grip of acidity and a very appealing underlying minerality. Flavors of golden apple, white stone fruits and subtle toast develop strength and brilliance with air time. If you must open a bottle now, decant. A very classy wine that will hold its own against many Grand Crus white Burgundies. Older vintages of Hanzell Chardonnay are available on the secondary market through the internet and these will make for remarkable drinking experiences as well. Reviewed May 24, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Pfendler Vineyards Estate Grown Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.2% alc., $38. · A marvelous wine styled perfectly to my preferences. Complex nose of buttered popcorn, honey, lemon zest, honeydew and spiced apple. Delicious flavors of pear tart and baking spices. A demure wine that is beautifully proportioned with a lasting and aromatic finish. Reviewed May 24, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Peirson Meyer Charles Heintz Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.4% alc., 450 cases, $55. The companion label of l’Angevin named after the two proprietor families, Robbie (winemaker with stints at Lewis Cellars and Peter Michael) and Shannon Meyer, and Alan and Lesley Warner Peirson. Barrel fermented, wild yeast fermentation, 100% MLF, aged 15 months in 50% new French oak, unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate straw color in the glass. The aromas really come at you over time in the glass showing lemon curd, creme brulee, vanilla wafer and wet stones. Flat-out delicious flavors of golden apple, pear, melon and freshly buttered brioche that are palate staining and hang around on the finish for what seems like a minute. Very smoothly textured with perfect integration of oak. This wine would make any Frenchman green with envy. My favorite Chardonnay from California and one I buy by the case and in magnums when my wife isn’t looking over my shoulder. Wowza! (Also drank a bottle in 2012 and was equally wowed). Reviewed May 24, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 LIOCO Demuth Vineyard Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

13.8% alc., pH 3.58, 225 cases, $35. Stressed Old Wente clone on original rootstock grown on rocky mountainous soil. Whole cluster pressed, cold fermented in stainless steel (no oak), wild yeast fermentation, 6 months sur lies, unfined and unfiltered. Demuth Vineyard was planted in shallow clay over fractured rock at 1,600 feet to the Wente clone on original rootstock in 1982. Daily temperature fluctuation at this site is 40 degrees. Harvest occurred 14 days later than the Anderson Valley floor. · Golden yellow color in the glass. Alluring aromas of lemon curd, ripe pears, and wet rocks. Very delicious flavors of poached pears, ripe citrus fruits including pineapple, and light caramel set off by an underlying minerality and a lively spark of acidity. Bright, vivid and a delight to drink especially at this moderate alcohol level. This is an exceptional vineyard and the wine shows it. I have tasted this wine multiple times at home and in restaurants and it is one of my favorites from California in this vintage. I have bought this wine for my personal cellar. A steal at this price point. Reviewed May 24, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Morlet Family Vineyards ‘Ma Douce’ Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

360 cases, $70. From a vineyard on the second ridge from the Pacific Ocean. Dedicated to Luc Morlet’s spouse, Jodie, and named ‘My Sweet’ or ‘Ma Douce.’ Native yeast, 100% MLF, weekly batonnage. Unfiltered. · Moderately deep straw yellow color in the glass. Piercing aromas of lemon curd, yeast, roasted nuts and smoky oak. Plush and luxurious on the palate, yet vibrant with acidity and minerality. Enticing flavors of white peach and buttered brioche linger on the refreshing finish. A very impressive wine that was still pumping out bright flavor three days later from an opened, re-corked and non-refrigerated bottle. Decant this wine if you pop the cork now. One of the greatest California Chardonnays to cross my lips. Sold out at the winery and understandably so. Still available through retail channels on the internet. Reviewed May 24, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Buena Vista Carneros Ramal Vineyard Estate Vineyard Series Chardonnay

14.2% alc., pH 3.43, 3,807 cases, $32, screw cap. Released in June 2010. Double Gold, Best of California, Best of Class (Tie) Sonoma Appellations, California State Fair Wine Competition. Clones are Dijon 96, RY 17, 15, 4 and Weimar. Whole cluster pressed. 100% barrel fermented, aged sur lies with the lees stirred every two weeks for 9 months. 100% MLF. Aged in 40% new French oak barrels with the balance one and two-year-old barrels. · Aromas of lemons, pears, buttered toast and roasted nuts. Very tasty essence of lemon curd, white peach, pear and a touch of allspice. Beautifully composed with a welcoming snap of acidity on the finish. A “go to” California Chardonnay that has all the spunk you can ask for. Reviewed August 24, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Brewer-Clifton Sweeney Canyon Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay

15.2% alc., 120 cases, $70, wax closure. Twelfth bottling from this site. Planted on its own roots to a Wente selection and dry farmed. · Light straw color in the glass. Distinctive aromatic profile of dried herbs, candle wax and cut flowers. Lovely flavors of peaches and nectarines with a faint note of oak in the background. Slightly creamy and more demure than the Mount Carmel and Rancho Santa Rosa bottlings with a better fruit and acid balance. No sign of alcohol. Reviewed August 24, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Mountford Estate Waipara New Zealand Chardonnay

14.3% alc., $33, screw cap. Imported by Infinity Imports, Los Angeles, CA. · Straw colored in the glass. Alluring scents of green apple, bergamot, honey and buttered popcorn. Delicious and nuanced with flavors of citrus peel, apple, toffee and allspice. Slightly creamy in texture with bright acidity and a welcoming note of minerality. An impressive wine that supports the notion of many that New Zealand Chardonnay can be striking. Reviewed November 7, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Mount Eden Vineyards Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

13.8% alc., 1,375 cases, $42. · Moderate straw color in the glass. Aromas of fresh-picked apples and toasty oak. Flavorful, mildly creamy and smooth with impeccable balance and breeding. Delicious flavors of baked apples, pears, citrus, honey and vanilla caramel. Restrained and nuanced, becoming more layered and interesting with time in the glass. A California classic that will age for years. Reviewed May 15, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Rhys Vineyards Alpine Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

13.7% alc., $59. Clones are Hyde, Wente, 76 and 96 planted at 1380 feet elevation. Soils are 24” top soil over soft shale. Yield 1.28 tons per acre. · Light straw color in the glass. Crisp aromas of crushed rocks, metal shavings, flint, Asian pear and green apple. A restrained, classic style with flavors of green apple, lemon, and flint, enlivened by a good grip of acidity, finishing bone dry. A sophisticated and terroir-driven Chardonnay distinct from the commonplace California fruit and oak-driven style. Tasted two days later from a previously opened and re-corked bottle, the wine was fresh, crisp and taut. Burgundy nuts will go ga-ga over this wine. Reviewed May 15, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Suacci-Carciere Heintz Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.1% alc., pH 3.60, TA 0.70, 200 cases, $35. The winemaker is Ryan Zepaltas (Zepaltas Wines). Owners Andy Carciere and John D. Suacci. 50% fermented in stainless steel and 50% fermented in French oak. 100% MLF with aggressive lees stirring. Aged 11 months in barrel. · Light straw color and clear in the glass. Appealing scents and flavors of tropical fruits including pineapple and an array of lemons. Slightly rich and creamy, with just the right dose of oak to add a subtle brioche, vanilla and butter undertone to the sprightly and minerally citrus notes. Heintz Vineyard, regardless of who is making the wine, consistently produces some of California’s greatest Chardonnays. The name of this vineyard on a bottle is a badge of quality. Reviewed May 15, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Dutton Goldfield Chileno Valley Vineyard Marin County Riesling

13.2% alc., 380 cases, pH 3.31, TA 0.56, residual sugar dry, $30. From a dry farmed vineyard planted by the Corda family in 1991 to several varieties. When Mark Pasternak took over the farming, he budded everything to Pinot Noir except for 4 acres of Riesling. Harvest in two picks - one on October 22 and one on November 26. 100% stainless steel fermented. · Pale yellow color and clear in the glass. Lovely aromas of peach, grapefruit and a touch of floral goodness. Juicy and flavorful, featuring crisp notes of citrus and white peach with some pleasingly discreet richness, slight creaminess, and a bone dry finish. Delightful. Score: 90. Reviewed April 19, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2013 Dutton Goldfield Dutton Ranch Shop Block Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Blanc

12.8% alc., pH 3.40, TA 0.56, 339 cases, $25. Warren Dutton’s original Graton Road ranch was planted to French Colombard and Gray Riesling when purchased in 1964. In the 1970s, he replaced the Riesling with apples and French Colombard. When it was time to replant the block in 2003, the Duttons decided on Pinot Blanc to augment the adjacent Chardonnay. The vineyard is dry farmed. Stainless steel fermented, partial MLF. · Pale straw color and clear in the glass. Luscious aroma of fresh peaches lemon peel, roasted almonds and the air after a heavy rain. Crisp on the palate, with an intense peach flavor which expands joyously in the mouth and clings to the finish forever. A bit of lemon, lime, grapefruit and vanilla flavors add interest. Beautifully balanced with well-integrated acidity and a silken mouth feel. This is one sexy peach of a wine. Score: 92. Reviewed April 19, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Alysian Floodgate Vineyard North Face Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc

14.0% alc., pH 3.10, TA 0.735, 317 cases, $20. · Very pale gold color with a slight green tinge. Typical grassy nose with hints of tropical fruit including papaya and banana. Less grassy on the palate with a slightly creamy mouthfeel, good acidity and a dry finish. Light on its feet, and slipping off the back end gracefully, the wine offers flavors of hay, dried herbs and tropical fruits. Sauvignon Blanc is not my favored cup of tea but this is a stellar example of a food-friendly type. Good (+) Reviewed June 23, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Castello di Amorosa Mendocino County Pinot Grigio

14.5% alc., pH 3.31, TA 0.59, 3,094 cases, $21. Crafted in the Italian style. Stainless steel tank aged. · Faint yellow color and clear in the glass. Aromas of tropical fruits including papaya and passion fruit, green apple and lemon. Has some substance with satisfying flavors of apple, tropical fruits, and cut grass. The mouthfeel is slightly creamy and the bright acidity lifts the finish. A pleasurable wine perfect for summer picnics and tailgate parties. Good (+). Reviewed June 23, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Briceland Vineyards Spirit Canyon Vineyard Mendocino County Arneis

13.1% alc., $17. Arneis is an Italian grape known as the “white Nebbiolo.” Historically it was blended to soften the tannins of Barolo and but has become a new varietal on its own. Less than 100 acres planted in California. Vines planted and organically grown by Glen McCourty, the California Extension Agriculture Agent for Mendocino and Lake Counties. · Very pale yellow color and clear in the glass. Charming aromas of tropical fruits, banana and pear. An interesting array of flavors including Poire William, lemon, wax, and a touch of “minerality” and lime zest. Good creamy texture with vibrant acidity. A distinctive aromatic white wine that is perfect for the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) crowd. Score: 90. Reviewed July 21, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Briceland Vineyards Lolonis Vineyard Mendocino County Chardonnay

13.9% alc., $21. Produced from certified organic grapes. Stainless steel fermented with no malolactic fermentation. · Light straw color and clear in the glass. Lemon-scented nose with hints of grapefruit, apple butter and buttered brioche. Moderately intense flavors of lemongrass, lime and apple with the slightest note of dried herbs. Sound acids and good grip with a crisp finish make for very pleasurable drinking. Score: 90. Reviewed July 21, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Ten Acre Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

14.1% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.65, 190 cases, $28. This wine comes from Monte Negra Vineyard planted in 1999 to clone 4. Fermented in 40% stainless steel and 60% neutral French oak barrels. · Very light yellow pear color and clear in the glass. Aromas of Asian pear, banana, walnuts, pastry cream and vanilla wafer. Tasty core of lemon, pear and green apple fruits. A clean, restrained, bracing style of Chardonnay that drinks easy, finishing on a refreshing note of yellow fruits with a zip of acidity. Score: 89. Reviewed July 21, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Joseph Jewell Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.1% alc., pH 3.31, TA 0.71, 626 cases, $22. Clone 4 and 5. Harvest Brix 22.9º-23.4º. Cool fermented in a stainless steel closed top tank (no oak). · Very light yellow golden yellow color and clear in the glass. A highly enjoyable wine offering enticing aromas of baked apple, lemon curd and honey followed on the palate with flavors of apple, lemongrass, honey, and a hint of banana. Admirable restraint and balance, clean and well-defined, with a lively mouth feel, finishing on a high note of refreshing, lemon-driven acidity. Score: 92. Reviewed September 5, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Winter’s Hill Vineyard Dundee Hills Pinot Blanc

13.0% alc., 205 cases, $17. Processed in stainless steel without barrel aging or malolactic fermentation to highlight its fruit character. The wine was fermented three weeks until dry. · Light golden straw color and clear in the glass. An enjoyable example of this underrated varietal offering refreshing aromas of golden apple, pear, lemon and coconut and tasty flavors of green apple, pear and a hint of pineapple. Brisk, with lemon-driven acidity, gossamer tannins and a crisp finish. True to the grape. Score: 88. Reviewed September 5, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Winter’s Hill Vineyard Dundee Hills Pinot Gris

14.5% alc., 800 cases, $17. Whole cluster pressed, fermented in stainless steel tanks at low temperature, no malolactic fermentation. · Pale golden yellow color and clear in the glass. I was drawn to this wine immediately, with its interesting aromas of fresh cut apple, tropical fruits, wax and a hint of lily. Pleasing on the slightly creamy palate, with flavors of baked pear and apple, leading to a palate cleansing finish. The wine shows a slight salinity to match well with oysters. Score: 90. Reviewed September 5, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Les Voleurs Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.5% alc., pH 3.50, TA 0.62, 73 cases, $22. From a vineyard located a few miles southwest of Sebastopol. 15-year-old vines. One lot fermented with native yeasts in barrel and underwent 100% MLF. The second lot was fermented using native yeasts in stainless steel without completing MLF. The wine was blended, received a light fining and was bottled unfiltered. · Very pale yellow color and clear in the glass. Shy, clean aromas of lemon zest, green apple and petrichor. Soft in the mouth with vivid lemony citrus and tropical fruit flavors and a hint of nutty oak. Demure and polished leaving a pleasing finish of lemon-lime gusto. Score: 90. Reviewed March 29, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Harper Voit Surlie Willamette Valley Pinot Blanc

13.6% alc., 225 cases, $20. Crannell and Meredith Mitchell vineyards. Barrel fermented and age sur lie. · Very light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Highly aromatic with effusive aromas of baked apple, Limoncello, pear, pastry cream and lees. Delicious flavors of apple, pear and citrus, finishing long with a bright green apple note and palate cleansing acidity. Pinot Blanc can be watery and uninspired, but this wine is everything but, possessing nuance, body and flair. One of the best Pinot Blancs I have experienced from Oregon. Score: 91. Reviewed March 29, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 The Wonderland Project “La Reine Blance” (The White Queen) Sonoma County Chardonnay

13.2% alc., residual sugar 0.02 mg, 1,400 cases, $24. Released June 2013. Clone 76 and Robert Young selection. Staggered picks at 21º to 23.5º Brix to control acid. Native yeast fermentation in stainless steel, 100% MLF, aged 8 months in 1/3 new French oak, 1/3 neutral French oak and 1/3 stainless steel. Primarily a restaurant wine meant to be a refined wine at accessible cost but also sold on the winery’s website. Winemaker is former sommelier Matthew Ahern (also of Scribe). · Light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Clean aromas of lemon curd, honey, spiced peach, papaya, honeysuckle and vanilla bean. Easy to drink with enough acidity to add juiciness, featuring flavors of peach, marzipan, and spice. Slightly creamy and soft in the mouth, with the faintest compliment of oak. A highly enjoyable, nicely balanced, no-nonsense, casual wine that doesn’t weigh you down with alcohol and oak. The ideal proverbial back porch wine. Score: 90. Reviewed April 19, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Golan Heights Winery Galilee Israel Moscato

7% alc., $14. Grapes grown in the volcanic soils of the Golan Heights. Fermentation blocked early to produce an aromatic wine that is lively and semi dry. Kosher for Passover. · Pale golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Highly aromatic with vivid aromas of peach, mango and lychee. Vibrant and flavorful core of white peach with accents of lychee and nuts. Soft and smooth on the palate with some, but not overbearing, sweetness. Ideal chilled as an aperitif or an accompaniment to a peach dessert such as peach melba. Score: 88. Reviewed April 19, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Harper Voit Surlie Willamette Valley Pinot Blanc

13.6% alc., pH 3.10, 225 cases, $20. Sourced from Crannell Vineyard in the Eola- Amity Hills and Meredith Mitchell Vineyard in McMinnville. Barrel fermented in used French oak, no MLF, aged on lees for 9 months. · Very light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Highly aromatic with effusive aromas of baked apple, Limoncello, pear, pastry cream and a subtle yeasty note. Delicious and bright on the palate with an array of layered flavors including apple, pear, and citrus, finishing with a green apple note and palate cleansing acidity. This is the most interesting Pinot Blanc I have ever had from Oregon, and a great shellfish wine. Score: 91. Reviewed April 19, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2012 Smith-Madrone Spring Mountain District Napa Valley Riesling

12.5% alc., pH 3.12, residual sugar 0.41%, 798 cases, $27. Vines grown in red, rocky volcanic soil. 5.5 acres of 40-year-old, dryfarmed Riesling planted along with Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon adjacent encroaching forest of Madrone - hence the name. · Pale yellow color and clear in the glass. Delicate aromas of lemon zest, green apple, peach and toast. Flavorful range of citrus fruits and peach with a note of iron-driven minerality and bright acidity. Has the goods to age for many years. Score: 90. Reviewed April 19, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 J. Christopher Croft Vineyard Uber Sauvignon Willamette Valley Sauvignon Blanc

13.0% alc., $35. Aged in Acacia wood for 8 months. · An interesting offering that is less grassy than the regular Croft Vineyard bottling, offering a pleasing fullness and interesting tannin interplay, finishing with a bracing cut of lemon-driven acidity. I thoroughly enjoyed this wine and bought a bottle to play with at home. Very good. Reviewed September 12, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Briceland Vineyards Humboldt County Chardonnay

Table wine, 135 cases, $21. Raised in stainless steel, no malolactic fermentation. · Light straw hue in the glass. Faint aromas of butter, pink grapefruit, ocean air and yeast. Nutty and citrusy in a reserved style with a smooth, easy drinking manner. Good. Reviewed October 2, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Craggy Range Kidnapper’s Vineyard Hawkes Bay New Zealand Chardonnay

13.0% alc., $19, screwcap. Imported by Kobrand Corp, NY, NY. · Very pale straw color in the glass. Fresh aromas of green apples, lychee and marzipan. Crisp, juicy and slightly viscous on the palate with flavors of citrus, baked pear, apple galette, and walnuts, finishing upbeat with a good cut of citrusy acid. Very good. Reviewed October 2, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Scribe Carneros Chardonnay

12.5% alc., 900 cases, $38. From a nearby vineyard farmed organically by owner who is Scribe’s vineyard manager. 80% Robert Young clone and 20% clone 76. Natural primary fermentation, no malolactic fermentation, slightly extended lees contact, 100% stainless steel (no oak). Light straw color in the glass. · Light straw color in the glass. Very fresh array of aromas that dance in and out including lemon, passion fruit, straw, nuts and vanilla cream. Crisp, clean and bright with flavors of lemon, white peach and a hint of banana brought into focus with uplifting acidity. A touch of minerality adds to the pleasure. A pleasing, food-friendly wine. Very good. Reviewed October 26, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Crossbarn by Paul Hobbs Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.1% alc., 3,000 cases, $25, screw cap. · Light straw color in the glass. Fresh aromas of lemon, pear, banana peel, vanilla, roasted nuts and sea shells. Slightly creamy on the palate with appealing flavors of lemon pudding, peach skin, and tropical fruits with a slight nuttiness in the background. A solid wine with reasonable vibrancy and a smooth finish. Good. Reviewed October 26, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Jezebel Oregon Blanc

12.5% alc., 595 cases, $14, screwcap. Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer are co-fermented in stainless steel with periodic lees manipulation. 7% Pinot Blanc and 3% Muscat are included. · This is a wine fashioned in the style of California’s Caymus Conundrum and equally appealing. Nearly clear in color, this wine offers an array of scents including muscat grape, white peach, banana and guava. A crowd pleaser with flavors of white peach and tropical fruits with modest richness and length. The flavors are most akin to Pinot Gris of all the varieties included. At 12.5% alcohol, one can enjoyed a few chilled glasses of this wine with no repercussions. A great apperitif. Good. Reviewed November 24, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Artesa Carneros Chardonnay

13.8% alc., pH 3.55, TA 0.63, 2,500 cases, $20. Aged 50% in 30% new French oak and 50% in stainless steel. 20% estate fruit and 80% neighboring vineyards. 30% MLF. A portion of the wine was lees stirred for 5 months. Bottled after 6 months of aging. · Light yellow color and clear in the glass. Fresh aromas of apple, citrus and butter. Crisp and clean, refreshing and uplifting, with flavors of citrus, pear, roasted nuts, clove spice and a touch of tropical fruits. A pleasant, easy to like wine, offering excellent value. An Estate Reserve is also offered at $35. Good. Reviewed January 19, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 McIntyre Vineyards Estate Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

14.79% alc., pH 3.51, 517 cases, $28. Dijon clone 76. Vinified at Copain Winery in Santa Rosa by Byron Kosuge. Whole cluster pressed. Fermented in new Siruge French oak barrels. Aged 8 months. 100% MLF. · Golden straw color and clear in the glass. Aromas of lemon curd, baked pear and banana pudding. Tasty core of pear, lemon-lime citrus, toffee and a hint of banana framed by bright acidity producing a juicy wine with a crisp finish. Good (+). Reviewed January 19, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 the Gardener Don Miguel Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay

13.5% alc., pH 3.40,TA 0.64, 200 cases, $30. Made from organic grapes grown in Goldridge soil. See clone. Vineyard is Certified Organic by CCOF and farmed by Marimar Torres. Harvested at 22.0 Brix. 50% MLF. Aged 9 months sur-lee in 30% new French oak barrels. · Pale straw color and clear in the glass. Lovely aromas of lemon, pear, banana and almond. A transparent wine, unencumbered by oak, offering flavors of citrus and pear with a hint of roasted nuts in the background. Bright and very agreeable, light on its feet, with a lively acid backbone, and a tight, lemony finish. Very good. Reviewed May 5, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Walt La Brisa Sonoma County Chardonnay

14.4% alc., $35.Walt Wines is owned by vintners Kathryn Walt Hall and Craig Hill who partnered with artisan vintner Roger Roessler. A blend of Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast vineyards (Dutton Ranch and Sangiacomo Vineyard). Old Wente clone. · Moderate golden straw color and clear in the glass. Aromas of lemon meringue, honey, poached pear, stewed apples and fresh cut grass. A solid wine with appealing flavors of vanilla pudding with pineapple, baked pear, nori and a hint of oak. A bright cut of acidity brings the wine to life and leads to a refreshing finish. Good. Reviewed May 5, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Benovia Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.1% alc., pH 3.51, TA 0.68, 750 cases, $34. Released March 2013. Sourced primarily from Martaella Estate Vineayrd. Old Wente, Dijon and suitcase selection. Fermented in barrel with indigenous yeast and aged for 14 months in 35% new French oak barrels. · Light straw color in the glass. Bright aromas of lemon curd, peach and oak vanillin. Crisp and refreshing, featuring flavors of lemon, grapefruit, and hazelnuts. Lively acidity and a very dry, lemon drop finish. Good. Reviewed June 23, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 J. Lohr October Night Arroyo Seco Monterey Chardonnay

14.9% alc., pH 3.58, TA 0.66, 1,693 cases, $25. 60% Dijon 809 (Musqué clone) blended with clone 76. 100% barrel fermented in 45% new Francois Frères French oak barrels using native yeast and aged sur lie for 12 months. · Pale golden yellow color and clear in the glass. A sophisticated offering with aromas of lemon drop, grilled peach, honeysuckle and chalk-laden soil. Plenty of fruit flavor including lemon, persimmon and white peach. The most striking feature of this wine is its oakdriven baking spice aroma and flavor. Soft, light, graceful and easy to like, the alcohol presents no notice. A terrific value considering the care and expense taken in its vinification. Very good. Reviewed June 23, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Hanzell “Sebella” Sonoma Valley Chardonnay

13.5% alc., pH 3.20, TA 0.81, 2,023 cases, $36. The Hanzell Chardonnay companion label. Individual vineyard blocks have been identified that form the core of this wine, particularly younger blocks that provide the forward and youthful fruit expression for Sebella. Fermented in stainless steel tanks, then racked to seasoned French oak barrels where it finished fermentation and aged sur lie for six months. Malolactic fermentation was inhibited to preserve the fresh, floral qualities and lively acidity. · Light straw color and clear in the glass. A very complex wine that is quite forward. The nose offers an array of aromas including baked apple, mango, lemon, Irish butter, vanilla, nuts, cut flowers and ocean air. Crisp and refreshing, with pleasing flavors of lemon, green apple and white peach, leading to a lemon drop finish exhibiting racy acidity. I am not usually a fan of unoaked Chardonnay, but this wine caught my attention, and will certainly please fans of Chardonnay vinified in this fashion. Score: 90. Reviewed July 21, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Cambria Estate Winery Bench Break Vineyard Estate Grown and Bottled Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay

14.5% alc., pH 3.57, TA 0.65, 648 cases, $32. The Bench Break Chardonnay vines were planted in 1971 and a solo bottling first appeared in 1999. Clone is old vine clone 4. Aged 12 months sur lies with twice weekly stirring in 100% new French oak barrels. · Light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. The nose is appealing with scents of apple, citrus, straw bale, hazelnuts and brown butter. Slightly creamy on the palate with crisp, moderately rich flavors of lemon tart, green apple, lime zest, spice and vanilla. Score: 90. Reviewed October 27, 2013 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Anaba Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.0% alc., pH 3.45, TA 0.595, 432 cases, $28. Sourced from Sun Chase and Denmark vineyards, both located in the Sonoma Coast. Clones are Wente, RY17 and 95. Harvest Brix 22.8-24.0º. De-stemmed, 60% barrel fermented and 40% stainless steel fermented. · Moderate golden yellow color and clear in the glass. Very appealing nose offering fresh scents of citrus, spiced pear, buttery brioche and flint. Tasty core of baked pear, peach, spice and toffee flavors with a hint of salinity. Nicely balanced with bright acidity and a crisp, refreshing finish. Score: 90. Reviewed February 22, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Anaba Denmark Vineyard Wente Clone Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.1% alc., pH 3.54, TA 0.59, 240 cases, $35. 100% Wente clone. Harvest Brix 23.3º. Whole cluster pressed, cold settled for two days, 50% fermented in stainless vats, 40% in neutral French oak barrels. 40% of the wine went through MLF. Aged 11 months sur lie in 22% new French oak barrels. · Moderate golden yellow color and clear in the glass. The nose alerts you to a serious wine, with a perfume of ocean air, lemon curd and brioche. The lemon-based core is accented with tastes of apple and marzipan. A wine of breeding that is refined and sophisticated and possessive of a lip-smacking finish. Score: 92. Reviewed February 22, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery Spring Mountain District Napa Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., pH 3.30, TA 0.67, 463 cases, $30. Winemakers and winegrowers Charles and Stuart Smith. A very cool growing season. From a dry-farmed 13-acre vineyard planted in red and rocky volcanic soil. The vines are 39 years old. 100% barrel fermented in 100% new French oak barrels for 8 months. · Moderate golden yellow color and clear in the glass. This wine is about the soil and uniquely reflects the terroir. The nose is replete with aromas of iron, paraffin, peach and citrus. Crisp and bright on the palate, with layered flavors of lemon, green apple, spice, and iron. Beautifully balanced with a remarkably long finish for a Chardonnay. This wine can be cellared for several years, but drinks beautifully now. Score: 93. Reviewed February 22, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Golan Heights Winery Yarden Galilee Israel Chardonnay

14.5% alc., $20. Grapes grown in the cool climate, rocky volcanic, high altitude soils of the Northern Golan Heights. Barrel fermented and aged 7 months with partial MLF. Kosher for Passover. · Mild golden yellow color and clear in the glass. An array of citrus fruits and pear arrive on the nose, accented by oak-driven notes of toast and nuts. Good fullness and richness, with flavors of lemon curd, quince, pear and pineapple and a complimentary touch of oak. Slightly creamy, finishing with modest citrus-driven acidity. Score: 88. Reviewed April 19, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2011 Cutruzzola Riven Rock Vineyard San Luis Obispo Riesling

12.5% alc., $22. Fermented in stainless steel. · Pale yellow color and clear in the glass. Aromas of lemon curd, vanilla, oiled wood and leather boot. Enjoyable flavors of lemon and white peach with a hint of petrol in the background. Slightly creamy with good finishing acidity. A unique expression of dry Riesling. Score: 89. Reviewed April 19, 2014 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Briceland Vineyards Spirit Canyon Vineyard Mendocino County Arneis

Table wine, $17. Arneis is often called the “white Nebbiolo.” This Italian grape was discovered sparsely interplanted with Nebbiolo grapes in the Italian Piedmont region. Some say because the grape ripens earlier than black Nebbiolo, it was offered to marauding bees plaguing the vineyards. Recently the grape has found its way to California where it is planted along the Russian River south of Ukiah by Glenn McGourty at his Spirit Canyon Vineyard. · Pale straw color with a hint of peach shade in the glass. Aromas of green apple, baked pear and marzipan. Light to medium-weighted and creamy on the palate with flavors of green apple, pear, apricot and a slightly grassy, nutty note. An easy drinking wine that would be an ideal aperitif or the perfect accompaniment to shellfish. Surprise your friends! Very good. Reviewed November 2, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Hahn Winery SLH Chardonnay

14.0% alc., pH 3.43, TA 0.76, $12. Aged in 18% new French oak. · Light straw color in the glass. Delicate but pleasing aromas of pears, white peaches, cream soda, honey, caramel and pineapple. Very lightly weighted but tasty, with clean and bright baked pear, fig and banana flavors leaving behind an impression of lemon meringue. You won’t find a better Chardonnay at this price in the marketplace. Good. Reviewed January 11, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Hahn Estate SLH Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

14.5% alc., pH 3.47, TA 0.60, $25. 65% Lone Oak Vineyard and 35% Hook Ranch Vineyard. A blend of clones 76 and 96. 100% barrel fermented. Aged in 33% new French oak. · Light straw color and clear in the glass. Aromas of melon, lemon curd, honey and petrichor fading a bit over time in the glass. Reserved, medium-bodied and a bit thin in the middle, but offering tasty baked pear and white peach flavors with a hint of baking spice that linger awhile on the finish. Seamless and easy to drink. Good (+). Reviewed January 11, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Envolve Carneros Chardonnay

14.1% alc., $24.99. · Light straw 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 (+). Reviewed April 4, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 J. Lohr Arroyo Vista Vineyard Series Arroyo Seco Chardonnay

14.9% alc., pH 3.54, TA 0.67, 5,426 cases, $25. Sourced from prime Monterey vineyard acreage. Native fermentation, weekly stirring of each barrel from November 2010 to March 2011 (during MLF and five months after). Barrel-aged sur lie for 18 months in 42% new French oak barrels (mostly Francois Frères). · Light straw color and clear in the glass. Nicely perfumed with aromas of caramel apple, citrus, mossy rock, brioche and redwood. Delicious and classy, with flavors of white nectarine, lemony brioche, and pastry cream, accented with minerality. Soft in the mouth without evident tannins. A quality drink. Very good. Reviewed June 24, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Gundlach Bundschu Estate Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.2% alc., pH 3.48, TA 0.67, 3,018 cases, $27. Released March 2012. From two blocks of 40+year-old Wente selections and two blocks of Robert Young clone. Yields 2.8 tons per acre. Whole cluster pressed, 80% barrel fermented and 20% stainless steel fermented, indigenous and inoculated yeasts, weekly battonage, no malolactic fermentation, aged 10 months in 20% new French oak barrels. · Light straw color in the glass. Clean aromas of golden apple, lemon, yeast and nasturtium. Polished and crisp, with flavors of apple, Asian pear, malted milk and toast, with an appealing underpinning of minerality. Impeccable balance, on-point focus and refreshing to drink. Very good. Reviewed October 2, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

14.2% alc., $35. Sourced from Gap’s Crown, Durell, Dutton Ranch, Sun Chase, and Parmalee Hill vineyards. Whole cluster pressed, indigenous yeast fermentations, aged sur lie with weekly stirring, 100% malolactic fermentation in barrel, aged in 40% new French oak barrels, and bottled without filtration. · Pale straw color in the glass. Pleasant perfume of baked pear, honey and toast. Moderately rich with a comforting smoothness, featuring lemony, nutty, toasty flavors with a hint of toffee, leaving some lemon-driven scent on the lively finish. Seamless and thoroughly enjoyable. Very good. Reviewed October 2, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2010 Stoller Family Estate Reserve Dundee Hills Oregon Chardonnay

13.5% alc., pH 3.31, TA 0.73, 883 cases, $28. Composed of high-density Dijon clone material (76, 95 and 96). Whole cluster pressed, commercial and native yeast fermentations, aged sur lies for 10 months in 18% new, 9% second fill and 73% neutral French oak barrels with battonage, cold stabilized and sterile filtered before bottling. · Pale gold color in the glass. Very fresh perfume of pears, lemon peel, honey and vanilla cream. Flavorful, with a core of green apple, pear, lemon and grapefruit flavors with a slight flinty note, finishing dry and slightly tart. A high acid rendition of Chardonnay that is primarily citrus driven. Very good. Reviewed October 2, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Calera Mt. Harlan Chardonnay

13.9% alc., 1,035 cases, $28. From organically grown grapes. Yields were 1.65 tons per acre. Aged 10 months in 30% new French oak barrels. 100% MLF. · Light straw in color. Aromas of citrus fruits, apple and peach. Very tasty and complex flavors of spiced pears, limes, lemons, brioche and oak. The toasty oak in the background adds rather than detracts. Very clean, crisp and understated with a slightly creamy texture. Beautifully balanced for longevity. Incredible value. Very good. Reviewed November 24, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Mahoney Vineyards Gavin Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay

13.8% alc., pH 3.54, 230 cases, $18. Produced only in outstanding vintages. Barrel fermented and aged 9 months sur-lies in French oak barrels. · Light straw color in the glass. A perfectly fine Chardonnay especially at this price. Lovely scents of citrus, white peach and vanilla pudding. Tasty Asian pear and white peach fruit with a hint of citrus peel. Light and subtle with a good acid spine typical of Chardonnay from Carneros. An exemplary daily drinker. Reviewed January 27, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Fogdog Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

13.5% alc., $35. 42% Pastorale Vineyard and 58% independent growers. Aged 12-14 months in 35% new and 65% 2 to 3-year-old French oak barrels. · Light straw color and clear in the glass. Classic Chardonnay aromas of pears, lemon curd, guava and buttered brioche. Tasty and moderately rich core of pear, citrus, green apple, caramel and butter flavors with a refreshing lift of acidity on the bright finish. A thoroughly pleasing drink that sings with quality. Very good. Reviewed May 15, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Hahn Estate SLH Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay

14.5% alc., pH 3.53, TA 0.59, $25. Aged in 42% new French oak barrels. · Light straw color and clear in the glass. Fragrant with aromas of golden apples, apple crisp, pears and butter with a heavy nod to oak over time in the glass. Tasty array of flavors including baked apples, pastry cream, toffee and vanilla. A solid drinker. Good. Reviewed May 15, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Bonneau Catherine’s Vineyard Los Carneros Chardonnay

$28. Similar to the 2008 vintage except aged in 33% new French oak barrels. · I prefer this rendition of the vineyard with brighter citrus and white stone fruit, some minerality, brighter acidity and less oak influence. Very good. Reviewed July 1, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 Bonneau Nectar de Carneros Demi-Sec Chardonnay

11.6% alc., pH 3.35, TA 0.68, RS 9 g/100ml, $15 (375 ml). A unique wine that is quite popular. Produced without malolactic fermentation in stainless steel tanks and bottled early in 2010. From Catherine Bonneau Vineyard. Harvested at 28.4º Brix, 100% natural yeast fermentation. Gold Medal at San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. · A Vouvray style wine featuring moderate sweetness and appealing flavors of white stone fruits, honey and roasted nuts. Very good. Reviewed July 1, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2009 The Noble Pig McMinnville Oregon Pinot Blanc

13.7% alc., 278 cases, $18, screw cap. Sourced from a very old vineyard in Yamhill County. · Pale yellow color in the glass. Fresh aromas of apple, poached pear, baking spice and warm honey. The flavors echo the aromas with an added note of grassy herbs and petrol. The fruit is crisped by the bright acidity and the mouth feel is slightly creamy. Pinot Blanc is my favorite casual and comfortable Oregon white wine. Very good. Reviewed January 12, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

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. Reviewed April 4, 2012 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Longplay “Jory Slope” Lia’s Vineyard Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Chardonnay

14.5% alc., pH 3.69, 63 cases, $24. 17-year-old vines. Aged 16 months on the lees in neutral oak. Low-yielding own-rooted Wente clone. · Lovely array of scents including apple pie, white peach, dried mango and marzipan. Very tasty green apple, white stone fruit and citrus core with an appealing hint of yeast. Pleasantly creamy and finishing with a spark of acidity. Proof positive that Wente clone can produce high quality Chardonnay in the Willamette Valley. Very good. Reviewed August 7, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Craggy Range Kidnapper’s Vineyard Martinborough New Zealand Chardonnay

13.5% alc., $17. Imported by Kobrand Corp, NY, NY. The 2008 vintage was stellar for Chardonnay in New Zealand. · Very light straw color. Pleasingly clean aromas of white peaches and citrus. Discreetly rich flavors of white stone fruits and apples with a citric peel lift on the refreshing finish. Good (+). Reviewed November 7, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 J Vineyards Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.3% alc., pH 3.50, 8,000 cases, $28. From J estate vineyards and select vineyard sites in the western Russian River Valley. Whole cluster pressed gently in J’s Coquard press with separate fermentations of free run and press juice. Combination of indigenous and custom Burgundian yeast strains. 100% barrel-fermented slowly in 40% new French oak barrels. Unusual 6-month malolactic fermentation results in a sur lie character. · Straw color in the glass. Heady, vibrant and clean aromas of white peaches, citrus, pineapple, butter and smoky oak. Very tasty offering of lemon curd, fresh brioche, caramel, butterscotch and oak spice highlighted by a smooth and creamy texture. The fruit takes center stage in this wine crafted in an appealing style that most California Chardonnay drinkers will like. Very good. Reviewed November 24, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2008 Bjørnstad Cellars Sonoma County Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 221 cases, $25. Released 7/10. · Straw color with slight haze (unfiltered) in the glass. Shy aromas of citrus peel, brioche, brown butter and stainless. Demurely flavored with notes of lemons, white peaches and buttered brioche. Slightly creamy in texture. A solid offering. Good. Reviewed July 1, 2011 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 LIOCO Sonoma County Chardonnay

14.5% alc., $19, screw cap. Fermented in stainless steel with wild yeast, 100% MLF. Aged in tank sur lees for 5 months. Unfined and unfiltered. · Scents of apple, lemon, honey, yeast and popcorn. Luscious and full-flavored with fruit that seems to jump out in the mouth. The essence of Chardonnay with flavors of pears, honey, nutmeg and nuts. Smooth and perfectly balanced. Best value in California Chardonnay on the market. Reviewed September 5, 2009 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Lucas & Lewellen Santa Barbara County Chardonnay

13.7% alc., pH 3.33, 1,002 cases, $16. Sourced from younger vines of Los Alamos and Goodchild vineyards in northern Santa Barbara County. Stainless steel fermented. Winemaker was Megan McGrath. · Pale yellow color. Complex nose showing aromas of white peaches, pears, melon, lemons and spring flowers. The flavors echo the nose with a subtle edge of herbs and resin. Soft and clean with bright acidity. Perfect with turkey. Reviewed September 5, 2009 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Sebella Sonoma Valley Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 762 cases, $36. Named after the owner’s children, Sebastian and Isabella. Selected from barrels, many from newer Chardonnay vines, and crafted for current drinking. 30% barrel fermented, 18 months total elevage, 12 months in 30% new Sirugue French oak barrels. · Pale straw color in the glass. Delicately perfumed and highly nuanced revealing aromas of poached apple, freshly toasted brioche and brown butter. Clean and bright on the palate with flavors of red apple, baking spices and citrus. A lovely drink whose bright acidity refreshes every sip. Good. Reviewed May 24, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Bjørnstad Sonoma County Chardonnay

14.2% alc., 221 cases, $25, released May 15, 2010. · Appealing aromas of cooked pear, brown butter, caramel and oak fading some in the glass replaced by green apple notes. Tasty citrus and pear flavors with a hint of honey. Not as rich or striking as the vineyard-designated Chardonnays, but a solid wine with a slightly creamy mouth feel and a bright, clingy finish. A go-to wine for everyday enjoyment. Good. Reviewed May 24, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 J Vineyards Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.3% alc., $28. · Light straw colored in the glass. Toasty oak and sawdust dominate the green apple aromas. Very tasty glazed apple and pear flavors with underlying notes of light caramel, brioche and oak. California-styled with plenty of oakderived aromas and flavors that will find favor with many Chardonnay lovers. Good. Reviewed May 24, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Bonterra Vineyards Mendocino County Chardonnay

13.0% alc., pH 3.27, $12, screw cap. 96% Chardonnay, 3% Muscat, 0.5% Rousanne, 0.5% Viognier. Made from organic grapes and aged in primarily neutral French and American oak. The winemaker is Robert Blue. · Very pale yellow-green in the glass. Appealing aromas of lemon curd, banana, vanilla and oak toast. Discreetly rich and soft in the mouth with flavors of citrus fruits, creme brulee and vanilla wafers. A bit hollow in the mid-palate and becomes less interesting in the glass over time, but a value-priced play that will work well when mildly chilled at the dinner table. Good. Reviewed May 24, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 LIOCO Sonoma County Chardonnay

14.5% alc,, $20, screw cap. Fermented in stainless steel using wild yeast. Aged in tank 5 months on lees. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Pale yellow color with slight haze in the glass. Aromas of lemons, honey, yeast and popcorn. Luscious and full-flavored with bright crunchy fruit that jumps out of the glass. Accents of roasted nuts, pears, honey and nutmeg add interest. Smoothly textured with bright acidity. The essence of Chardonnay. Good (+). Reviewed May 24, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

2007 Melville Estate Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay

14.9% alc., $20. · Straw yellow in the glass. Appealing aromas of buttered toast, honey and lemon curd. Rich and bright on the palate with a tasty core of green apple, peach and honeydew flavors and toasty oak in the background. Hi-tone acidity brightens the finish. Well-endowed and full-bodied, this is very California at heart. Very good. Reviewed August 24, 2010 WINERY » ARTICLE »

Robert Parker’s 100 point wine scoring system, which became popular in 1983 and adopted by the Wine Spectator in 1988, has been a homing beacon for consumers seeking to buy good wine. Currently, a majority of United States based wine critics and magazines use the 100 point scale.

The reality is that the 100 point scale is actually a 10 point scale. MORE»
A Note About Prices

Price shown in a tasting note is either the winery-direct price or the retail price paid by the Prince.