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Mer Soleil Silver Chardonnay 2016
Following the trend of moving away from full oak regimes, the Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay sees no time in oak whatsoever. Fermented in a combination of stainless steel and cement tanks, this wine is still a ripe and full-bodied example of California Chardonnay, but without the butter and vanilla notes that many people think overwhelm some white wines from the Golden State. Aromas of yellow apple, pear, and nectarine lead to a juicy and acidic palate that evokes Meyer lemon, passion fruit, and peach, with a bit of minerality finishing off the mouthwatering finish.
Grilled octopus salad, shrimp Louie, or a lobster roll would match this wine perfectly. The juicy, tropical fruit driven essences of this wine are soft and ripe enough that a buttery and/or richly flavored seafood dish is a great pairing.
Made by the Wagner family of Caymus and Meiomi fame, the Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay is fermented and aged in stainless steel and cement tanks, keeping oak flavors from the wine entirely. However, the wine does get small doses of oxygen which result in flavor development that helps mimics what oak barrels accomplish, but without adding any oak flavors. Bottled in distinct matte grey bottles that were inspired by the concrete fermenters that this wine was born in, this wine is a showstopper on the table, both in the bottle and in the glass.
Davis Bynum River West Vineyard Chardonnay 2014
This Russian River Chardonnay is made with a light touch in the winery to allow the character of the variety and the terroir to shine through. The cool conditions in this region produce exceptionally refined and elegant Chardonnays which offer ripe fruit character balanced by plenty of freshness. Following fermentation in oak barrels and sur-lie ageing, the winery ages the young wine in oak for a whole year to add a creamy texture and subtle tannins
On the nose there are notes of lemon zest, toasted sesame seeds, and marzipan while the first sip reveals delicate stone fruit, baking spice, and vanilla. The well-rounded mouthfeel, developed structure and freshness on the finish make this a good match for creamy dishes with pasta or chicken. This rich Chardonnay can also be enjoyed with risottos, cheeses, or even lobster served in a creamy sauce.
The Davis Bynum winery dates back to the 1970s when Bynum released the Russian River Valley’s first single vineyard Pinot Noir. Today Bynum’s legacy is continued by his great friend, Greg Morthole, who maintains the winery’s artisanal approach to winemaking and is continually striving to innovative while meeting Bynum’s high quality standards.
Clos Pegase Mitsuko's Vineyard Chardonnay 2018
One of Napa’s premier estates, Clos Pegase boasts a stunning modern winery designed by top architect Michael Graves and 450 acres of vineyards set in the volcanic hills close to Calistoga. The estate’s largest holding is the 365 acre Mitsuko vineyard in Los Carneros which is home to a wealth of microclimates which have been carefully analysed and planted with appropriate grape varieties.
This single varietal Chardonnay comes from fruit planted in an area which benefits from cooling breezes from the San Pablo Bay. These help to preserve freshness and balance in the ripe grapes at harvest time, and the fruit is harvested early in the morning to ensure it arrives at the winery in optimal condition. The wine is partially fermented in oak barrels and then matured in the barrels with battonage or lees stirring for 9 months.
Bright citrus zest, peach and melon characterise the nose while the palate offers a rich, creamy texture, full body and intense ripe stone fruit flavours along with hints of brioche, coconut and vanilla. The bold flavour profile is carefully balanced by a crisp acidity which makes this a versatile gastronomic wine. It’s ideal for pairing with creamy cheeses, pan-fried fish dishes or roast chicken.
Domaine Eden Chardonnay 2016
Drink now until 2030. Decanting time: Drink upon opening.
Brilliant bright golden yellow in colour. The nose is bold and full, with plush peach, honeysuckle and tangerine aromas. The juicy yet delicate palate delivers clean flavours of lime zest, nectarine and fresh flowers. There is an array of delightfully interwoven, mature flavours that deliver a very pretty, almost creamy, mouthfeel that extends gracefully with a towards a vibrant, meticulous finish that is very lemony, feminine and carries good length.
Full of personality, this wine showcases the well-known Domaine Eden’s well-crafted balance between the richness and minerality known of the region and the characteristic precision of the varietal. Yet another great Chardonnay from one of California’s oldest and arguably the original “boutique” Chardonnay producer, whose wines helped place California on the map for exceptional wines 50 years ago. This is a precise Chardonnay and everything about it is pure and well-structured. Nothing is overstated here, which lends to a unique, if subdued elegance. If you like a classically clean and delicate Chardonnay, you will love this wine. Not too big, as some California Chardonnays can be. The vineyards all boast a cool, mountain-top terroir, with consistent, if sparse, yields of purity, integrity and quality. Another fleshy, generous offering from Domaine Eden.
Mount Eden’s Chardonnays are known for aging extremely well, although this is very drinkable now. Serve with seafood, sushi or for a light lunch a la fresca.
Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Chardonnay 2017
A legendary figure in the winemaking world for his pioneering work in California’s Napa Valley, Robert Mondavi established his namesake winery in 1966 with the vision of crafting exceptional wines from traditional French varietals. Today the estate is in the capable hands of winemakers Geneviève Janssens, Joe Harden, and Megan Schofield who work tirelessly to keep his dream alive.
This sumptuous Napa Valley Chardonnay is made with grapes carefully sourced from the region’s top AVAs for Chardonnay. The majority of the grapes come from the southern end of the valley where conditions are cooler thanks to fog from the bay and sea breezes which helps them to ripen slowly and maintains freshness in the finished wine.
To capture the pure aromatic character of the Chardonnay grapes, the harvest takes place early in the morning. 70% of the fruit is then fermented in French oak barrels with the remainder vinified in stainless steel tanks. Both are then aged on the lees for 9 months with regular battonage. The result is a rich, creamy Chardonnay which exudes pineapple, pear and mango aromas and flavours along with roasted hazelnuts and sweet vanilla spice which are carefully balanced by a fine acidity.
Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 2017
The Chateau Montelena Chardonnay is one of the world’s most famous white wines thanks to the Judgement of Paris wine competition in 1976 which helped put the estate on the map. The competition pitted top wines from Burgundy against wines from California which were all tasted blind by the panel of French wine experts. To the surprise of the world, the judges selected the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay as the best white wine, placing it ahead of many famous white Burgundies.
Despite winning this competition, the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay has remained remarkably affordable and still offers exceptional value for money for those looking for an alternative to expensive white Burgundies. Following vinification the young wine is aged in French oak barrels for 10 months to add extra complexity and depth.
On the nose there are intense hints of white peaches, green apples and lemon zest while the first sip reveals a generous full body, soft tannins, and rich tropical fruit flavours which linger long on the tongue. There are delicious hints of sweet spices, smoke, and toast from the oak ageing. This is a wine that is delicious to drink now, although it can also be cellared for at least another decade for those that have the patience to wait.