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Sips of Recently Tasted California Chardonnays

2012 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Cuvée Limitée Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Chardonnay

14.1% alc., 149 cases, $65. Exclusively estate vineyards. Produced from some of the oldest (over 20 Years) Dijon clones on the Estate. Hand-picked, hand-sorted and pressed whole cluster. Fermented in French oak barrels ()one-third new, one-third once-used, and one-third neutral) After 11 months, the favorite barrels were selected. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. Aromatically engaging with scents of lemon drop, dried mango, golden apple and marzipan. Light on its feet, crisp and very sleek, this wine is infused with citrus and apple goodness with very little intrusion of oak. Refreshing, with some length on the bright finish. Definitely French stylistically, with a purity of fruit that is striking. One of the best Oregon Chardonnays I have experienced in recent memory. Score: 93

2012 Durant Vineyards Raven Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Chardonnay

13.5% alc., pH 3.67, 264 cases, $25. From vines planted in 1993 to clones 76 and 96. Crafted by Isabelle Dutarte of De Ponte Cellars. Harvest Brix 24.5º. Yield 2 tons per acre. · Very light golden yellow color in the glass. Aromas and flavors of apple, lemon, Asian pear, and nutty oak are offered in a bright, lighter-flavored style. Slightly soft on the palate with tight acidity and a walnut and lemon infused finish. Score: 88

2013 Meiomi California Chardonnay

13.8% alc., $19. 49% Santa Barbara County, 21% Monterey County, and 30% Sonoma County. · Pale golden yellow color in the glass. A solid offering with aromas and flavors of lemon, white peach, honey and nutty oak. Smooth on the palate, and easy to drink, with modest oak overlay, and a refreshing finish of juicy Granny Smith apples. Score: 88

2013 Rombauer Vineyards Carneros Chardonnay

14.6% alc., $32. Released August 2014. From estate vineyards and select growers including the Sangiacomo family. Very large production. Harvest Brix 22.9-25.0º. Whole cluster pressed, cold-settled overnight, racked to barrel for primary and malolactic fermentation. The lees were stirred every two weeks. Aged 8 months in 33% new French and American oak barrels. · Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Aromas and flavors of lemon-lime, white nectarine, vanilla, spice and buttery brioche. Mildly creamy on the palate with a subtle buttery oak compliment, and good acidity. Score: 89

2012 Stomping Girl Hyde Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay

14.1% alc., $40. Wente and Robert Young clones. Gently whole pressed with free-run juice sent to French oak barrels (one new, the rest neutral) at a cool temperature. Aged sur lie with regular lees stirring. The wine clear naturally, without fining or filtration, and was bottled with a single racking before bottling. · Light golden yellow color in the glass. The aromas pull you into the glass, with bright notes of lemon curd, pear, toast and subtle vanilla. Delicious lemon, pear and apple flavors in a bright, crisp and clean style with a slightly creamy mouthfeel. Amazing fruit goodness. Beautifully balanced with noticeable length on the finish. All you could ask for in a Chardonnay. Drink this one on a sunny day with your best friends. Score: 94

2012 TR Elliott Three Roses Russian River Valley Chardonnay

14.5% alc., 257 cases, $32. Released May 2014. Sourced from Herrick Vineyard. Winemaker is Theodore R. Elliott. Clone 809. Aged sur lee 11 months in 30% new French oak barrels. · Moderately light golden yellow color and clear in the glass. The nose is multidimensional with aromas of lemon curd, buttery brioche, melon, and exotic floral display. Slightly creamy on the palate with flavorful notes of lemon, apple, pineapple and lemongrass. Crisp and juicy, with a deft touch of oak and appealing length on the finish. Score: 89

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