Juicy, rich, zesty, and delicious, I adore a good Chardonnay, and each of these beauties does not disappoint, delivering vibrancy, and consistently delicious flavor bottle after bottle. Sip one of these Chardonnay wines this week, you won’t be disappointed.
From the historic Hyde Vineyard within the rolling hills of Los Carneros, Ram’s Gate Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay ($70) shines with energy and character, showcasing this remarkable place. The cool climate vineyard, with sandy loamy soils and shallow streambeds, delivers concentrated fruit with structure and refinement. Utilizing predominantly Musque clone Chardonnay fruit, the wine layers stone fruit and melon, revealing golden apricot, nectarine, and honeydew flavors, balancing with crushed stone, soft herb, and citrus. Textured and rich, as is expected from Ram’s Gate. Their wine always delivers.
Just up the road in Carneros, the Cuvaison Vineyard Estate produces sustainably farmed cool-climate wines highlighting the essence of the land. With a block-by-block management philosophy, Cuvaison’s vineyard team ensures that each vine is carefully tended, pruned, and picked at the optimal time to deliver the fruit’s full potential. Its debut release, Cuvaison Methode Beton Chardonnay ($50) follows the same production style of their Methode Beton Sauvignon Blanc, using 100% concrete fermentation and aging of hand-selected, small lots of fruit. Light and fresh, opening with notes of wisteria and orange blossom, the wine invites you in to enjoy. Flavors of white peach, mandarin, and pomelo follow, with just a hint of marzipan. The wine has a lovely roundness, and texture to the palate, a nod to the use of the concrete, with subtle mineral notes that linger on the palate from start to finish.
Cooling breezes off of the Russian River, within Sonoma County, lock in the acidity that is so vital with Chardonnay. The freshness ensures that even when the wine can be rich, there is balance, making it also very food-friendly. Lake Sonoma Russian River Chardonnay ($34) displays this in their creamy, slightly spicy, selection. Aged 19 months in partially new French oak, lending creme brulee, toasted cedar, and warm spice notes to the wine, melding with Meyer lemon, tangerine, golden peach, and ripe pear.
Starting with great fruit is always the first requirement for producing great wine. Willamette Valley’s Winderlea Vineyard and Winery consistently bring together premium fruit from throughout the region, crafting some of the finest wines from the region from their volcanic Dundee Hills vineyard, as well as Carabella, Hyland, and Meredith Mitchell. Winderlea Willamette Valley Chardonnay ($35) is a stunning combination of the four vineyards, bringing in the earthy character of Willamette Valley, showing notes of soft herb, wet stone, and lemon blossom, melding with stone fruit and orchard fruit, blanched almond, and a touch of allspice. Nicely structured, the wine has texture, refinement, and elegance.