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K&L Staff Recommendations
We can tell you this much: our Kalinda private label hooks you up with awesome wine at a fraction of what you'd otherwise pay for this exact same wine under its normal label. While we have to remain quiet about the source of this beauty, we can tell you that it sells elsewhere under the winery label at a much higher premium. Get it while it lasts.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Chardonnay shows tropical fruit, especially tangerines, mangoes and pineapples. It has fresh acidity, not much evidence of wood, but good cleanliness, freshness and a medium-bodied, nice fruity mouthfeel. Drink it over the next several years. These are excellent wines once again as this winery has appeared frequently in these Best Buy pages (RP)" (8/2015) K&L Notes: From winemaker Rob Mondavi, Jr, the 2013 Spellbound Chardonnay displays a lively and lush tropical profile of pineapple, guava, and kiwi fruit. To contribute the rich complexity of vanilla and c... Read More »
93 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Chardonnay Estate is gorgeous. Rich and oily on the palate, with considerable texture, the 2013 boasts tons of texture and breadth. Candied lemon, white flowers, almonds and chamomile add shades of nuance as the 2013 opens up in the glass. The 2013 boasts tons of oiliness and viscosity for a Chardonnay with no malolactic fermentation. Best of all, the 2013 is a great value. Winemaker Greg Brewer turned out a gorgeous set of 2013 Pinots at Melville. The wines are consistently of very high quality, something that was not easy to achieve in a year ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* This crisp and balanced wine offers lemon, guava and papaya, tropical without being cloying. With enough viscous creaminess to keep it medium in weight, it’s soft and herbal, with measured acidity and a golden color. It finishes lean and savory." (8/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "There are an astonishing 14,000 cases of the 2013 Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast. It reveals good minerality along with crisp, honeysuckle, orange zest, white peach and tropical fruit notes. At $15 a bottle, this medium-bodied, fresh, lively Chardonnay is a sensational value. Drink it ...Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "The nose on this wine from nine vineyards ranging from Santa Clara to Santa Barbara reflects much of what the large appellation offers, but in subtle ways: touches of Golden Delicious apples, grilled pineapple, toasted coconut and chalk. The flavors surround a Meyer lemon zest tension, with apple flesh fruits and a zesty acidity that holds throughout without biting." (3/2015)90 points Antonio Galloni: "Calera's 2013 Chardonnay (Central Coast) is absolutely stunning in this vintage. Peach, apricot, wild flowers, honey and spices all meld together in a supple, generous Chardonnay that ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "The winery is making new strides by finding the best sites for its wines rather than trying to grow everything on its estate. This Chardonnay is a case in point. High in acidity and low in oak influence, it offers restrained layers of tropical mango, lemon and ginger snap." (3/2015) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Light yellow-gold. Lively citrus and orchard fruits on the spicy nose. Shows hints of sweet butter and ginger on the palate, complementing Meyer lemon and apple flavors that tighten up with air. Closes tangy and dry, with an echo of ginger and good, nervy persistence. (ST) ...Read More »
From the winery: "Grapes sourced from our preferred clones of Chardonnay provide the tropical notes folks have come to love. A slow cold primary and secondary fermenta:on on our proprietary combinaion of oak create an ethereal creaminess balanced with a vanilla finish. Fruit from our favorite cooler climates in California produce delicate aromas of baked lemons, pear, peach and apple that seamlessly evolve on the palate with a finish that is uniquely Butter!"
Antonio Galloni: "Lemon oil, white flowers, mint and slate meld together in the 2012 Chardonnay. Racy and beautifully layered on the palate, this tank-fermented, non-malo Chardonnay delivers exceptional quality for the money. (AG)" (7/2014) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Chardonnay Foxglove is my favorite of the bunch and gives up clean and classy white peach, apple blossom and subtle spice in its medium-bodied, juicy and delicious style. Brought up in stainless steel, it’s hard to beat at the price and should be purchased by the case for drinking over the coming year or so. (JD)" (8/2014) K&L Notes: The Var... Read More »
For the last two years we've had the distinct pleasure, and honor, of being able to blend our own Chardonnay with the team at Talley Vineyards. Last year this bottling was a huge success with our customers and we think it is every bit as good this year. Just like last vintage the 2014 comes from Talley's non-contiguous Oliver's Vineyard located in the Edna Valley. This year we had many more barrels to blend with which made our jobs tougher but the final wine that much better. The final blend this year came from five barrels all French oak, one of which w... Read More »
This is 100% estate grown fruit from Talbott's Monterey vineyards (with the majority coming from the Sleepy Hollow Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands) finished in 90% stainless and 10% French oak. Juicy, with just a touch of fruity sweetness at the finish, this has mandarin and honeydew fruit aromas and flavors galore. Medium-bodied on the palate, there's a touch of spice and a roundness mid palate from the small amount of oak aging. According to the winery: "The rich, inviting nose shows bright tropical notes that continue on the palate, where refres... Read More »
Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast) is gorgeous. Apricots, honey, mint, orange blossom and wild flowers are all laced together in the glass in a racy, perfumed Chardonnay to drink over the next handful of years. Simply put, this is a fabulous wine for the money. The 2013 was done 90% in oak and 10% in steel. (AG)" (1/2015)
MacRostie's Sonoma Coast bottling is definitely a top choice for an under-$20 California Chardonnay. Grapes were sourced from several select Sonoma Coast vineyards including the "A-list" Sangiacomo Vineyard, vineyards belonging to the Dutton and Martinelli estates, and MacRostie's own estate properties. The beatifully ripe and pristine fruit was whole-cluster pressed into 20% new French oak for fermentation where it aged for an additional 6 months. A few lots were fermented in stainless steel to retain some special emphasis on aromatic fruit characterist... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "This offers good quality for the price from this historic producer, which heads south to this dry-farmed vineyard planted in 1976. The wine shows lots of lemon scents, from blossoms to peels, along with browned butter, sea salt and smoke. The palate offers singed lime peels, red grapefruit skin, iodine and sour yellow apple peels, proving quite complex." (12/2015) Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Chardonnay Wolff Vineyard is quite powerful in this vintage. Succulent apricot pit, peach, almonds and chamomile laced together in a deep, resonant Chardonnay endowed with a real sense o ...Read More »
91 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Chardonnay Estate is another superb value from Hansel. Lemon peel, honey, almonds, wild flowers and mint are all laced into the super-expressive finish. In this vintage, the Estate is subtle, polished and exceptionally beautiful. Best of all, it is a fabulous value. Stephen Hansel is one of the most intelligent winery owners in Sonoma. More interested in getting people to drink his wines than in maximizing short-term profit, Hansel continues to offer some of the very best wines readers will find for the money. In particular, the Estate Chardonn ...Read More »
93 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Chardonnay Bien Nacido Reserve Block Eleven is rich and voluptuous in the glass, with copious apricot pit, honey, chamomile, butter, spice and orange blossom. This is a decidedly flashy, buttery Chardonnay, but all the elements are in the right place, even if this style can't exactly be called subtle. If these new releases are any indication, Qupé is going through a transition following the sale of a majority interest to Charles Banks' Terroir Selections. It will be interesting to see how the infusion of capital manifests itself here. As for the ...Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "A lightly textured wine that suggests lemon chiffon, this has plenty of body to make it feel rich on the palate, along with ample acidity to keep it refreshingly crisp. Apple and pear rise to the fore, maintaining the fruitiness from start to finish." (12/2015) K&L Notes: Chardonnay has been called the "Queen Bee" of white grapes. With roots in the prestigious soils of Burgundy, this singular varietal has gained renowned status the world over. Chardonnais is a cleverly named French-inspired Chardonnay from Napa Valley. The wine is made to be rich and full bodied, wi... Read More »
Qupe should be on the radar of any California Chardonnay drinker who is interested in a wine with moderate alcohol and loads of character. Y Block is one of the older Chardonnay blocks at Bien Nacido. It’s located on the gravelly river banks of the Cuyama River, just opposite the winery. Qupé is the only winery that gets these grapes. Lucky for them (and for us), because this fruit-forward, though balanced Chard is wonderfully tasty and a considerable value, too!
93 points Antonio Galloni: "Dierberg's 2012 Chardonnay is gorgeous. Lemon oil, tropical fruit and butter are all tempered by the cool microclimate here. The flavors remain bright, focused and nuanced in a crystalline Chardonnay that stands out for its precision. A hint of sweetness from the oak adds complexity, but overall, the 2012 is a wine built on energy. Dierberg, and its sister property, Star Lane, is in a bit of a transition at the moment. New winemaker Tyler Thomas took over with the 2013 vintage, while the 2012s were finished by assistant winemaker Jeff Connick. Thomas ma ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Attractive aromas of white peach, poached pear and caramelized citrus are followed by a creamy, medium to full-bodied, pure, well-made Chardonnay that is best drunk over the next 4-5 years. (RP)" (12/2014) Wine & Spirits: "A plump, warming, oak-laden Russian River Chardonnay with decadent scents of ginger, butternut squash and roasted corn, this would fare well with a good chill and a crab salad." (2/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "Golden-hay in color, this has a luxurious toffee-caramel imprint accompanied by apple and pineapple notes. Soft and medium in acidity, it’s a bright, layered wine that fol ...Read More »
Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star and a Good Value* Clean as a whistle, mid-density in weight and volume and evident if moderate oakiness lifting its mix of ripe and slight green apple fruitiness, this wine is exactly what a $20 Chardonnay should be. It is somewhat rounded in texture with enough youthful energy for balance ..." (5/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "High-toned Meyer lemon and edgy minerality give this coastal wine a freshness on the palate, along with a complexity of fennel and apple. Juicy and medium bodied, it picks up a fullness on the texture as it goes, while remaining balanced and pleas ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The real superstar, if you want to spend a few more dollars, is the 2013 Chardonnay Grand Reserve, which is a blend of 54% Monterey estate fruit with 46% Santa Barbara estate fruit. This is aged in 31% new French oak and a touch of American wood as well, for nine months prior to bottling. The wine shows honeysuckle, brioche, pineapple, mango, and orange notes in a boisterous, exuberant, richly fruity, but pure, medium-bodied style with the oak kicked to the background. In some extremist circles it is fashionable to criticize anything that’s big and succe ...Read More »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The deepest gold-colored wine in the lineup, the 2013 Chardonnay Ashley's Vineyard spent eight months in 51% new French oak, with the balance in 1-, 2- and 3-year-old barrels. Rich, full throttle and medium to full-bodied, it offers sensational notes of ripe apple, buttered citrus, brioche and a touch of honeysuckle. This is a classic Chardonnay that has tons of character, excellent richness (which is lacking in too many Santa Barbara County Chardonnays) and a clean, classy finish. (JD)" (8/2015)93 points Wine Enthusiast: "There’s a sharp element of lime rind and brie cheese skin at ...Read More »
According to the winery: "A bountiful crop of 88.53 tons were harvested by hand, destemmed, and the berries "broken" before being pressed (the majority to stainless steel tanks, and the balance to large oak casks). Fermented on the fine lees, with no battonage for 7-months. Malolactic fermentation occurred naturally and finished completely. A gentle cross-flow filtration was performed prior to bottling. A selection of complementary Sonoma county vineyards compose this wine, with an emphasis on the Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Sonoma Coast ... Read More »
Renowned for their classically styled Napa Cabernet, beloved for their quirky Grignolino, Heitz Cellar also makes Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and this Chardonnay. A great price for this respected Napa Valley label. Heitz Cellar's tasting notes: "Our 2013 Napa Valley Chardonnay is nothing short of refreshing, an excellent expression of both the varietal and the great 2013 growing season. Aromas of crisp, ripe apple and Asian pear mingle in the glass, while an invigorating acidity plays across the tongue. This is a medium-bodied Chardonnay with a touch of F... Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "A bowl full of complex aromas and flavors are bundled together in this full-bodied, lush-textured wine. The aroma resembles wet earth for a moment, then transitions to buttery, bakery spices. Ripe and honeyed pear flavors come out on the palate and the mouthfeel is nicely viscous." (7/2015)
An early harvest in 2014 helped to retain acidity, key to this bright, fresh style of Chardonnay. Of the 2012 vintage, Connoisseurs Guide to California Wine said: "If all unoaked Chardonnays were as wonderfully fruity and as focused and fresh as this one, we would be far bigger fans of the style." The winery's vintage note: "Tropical notes of juicy Mandarin, ripe kiwi and papaya are highlighted by aromas of lemon drop, apple blossom and refreshing minerality. The palate supports the nose, revealing the Stainless winemaking with its round, weighty mouthfe... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The amazing 2012 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast possesses lots of tropical fruit, honeysuckle, pineapple and tangerine notes. Half went through malolactic and the other half was blocked. With lots of minerality as well as a Chablis-like character, it is a major sleeper of the vintage. This beauty should drink well for 1-2 years. (RP)" (12/2013) Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast is beautiful. All the elements fall into place nicely in a Chardonnay that is bright and crisp, but with good depth in its fruit and no hard edges. Lemon oil, pear and pastry notes meld int ...Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Ripe aromas of passionfruit, kiwi and nectarine rise alongside greener elements of celery stalk, wet thyme and Granny Smith apple on this promising early look at the vintage. The tongue tingles throughout the sip, with flavors of crisp apple, yellow melon and crushed chalk. Buttercream appears on the finish." (2/2015) Antonio Galloni: "Bright yellow. Ripe yellow plum and orange aromas show a touch of heat and pick up a spicy element with aeration. Fleshy and broad in the mouth, offering pliant pit and orchard fruit flavors that could use more structure. Finishes with decent ...Read More »
Connoisseurs Guide: "A bit sparing in obvious fruit and showing a certain vaguely stony cast to its balanced but brief, mildly citrusy flavors, this cleanly made middleweight is something of a minimalist, but it shows nary a hint of the candied confection that routinely comes with inexpensive Chardonnays and is thus a useful and fairly versatile wine to pour with sundry seafoods." (5/2015)
Trefethen's Chardonnay is entirely sourced from their Main Ranch estate vineyard in Napa Valley's Oak Knoll District. The perfect 2013 growing season started and finished early and avoided any heat spells that could compromise the fresh quality of this energetic Chardonnay. From the winery: "Fruit aromas of white peach and Fuji apple fill your nose along with brioche toast and a touch of spice. The palate zings with bright acidity, unveiling ripe apple and pear fruit, with lovely tropical and pineapple flavors. A classic Trefethen Chardonnay, a round and... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "This unoaked Chardonnay is so ripe and rich, you won’t miss the buttered-toast flavor of oak. It’s incredibly potent with limes, mangoes, oranges and pineapples, uplifted with brisk acidity. A weekend brunch of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon will be the perfect occasion." (12/2013) K&L Notes: From fruit sourced from Yountville, the 2013 Napa Valley Chardonnay offers great value for the pedigree of the fruit. The winery's tasting notes: "Hoopla 2013 Chardonnay has a beautiful clear bright golden color. From the first pour, it explodes from the glass with tropical f... Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Longtime winemaker Ted Edwards has fashioned a beautiful 2013 Chardonnay, an 11,000-case, non-malolactic, 70% barrel-fermented cuvée from multiple sources throughout Napa. One-third new French oak was used. Notes of delicate pear, apple blossom and tropical fruits emerge from this classic Chardonnay. Medium to full-bodied with a greenish hue to its color, it exhibits impressive layers and minerality. Enjoy it over the next 4-5 years." (10/2014)90 points Wine Enthusiast: "From three vineyard sites, this wine benefits from the skill of its blender, who composed lemon and lime fruit cr ...Read More »
90 points Wine & Spirits: "This wine’s initial impression of oak makes way for intense, coastal chardonnay fruit: the juicy, on-point ripeness of midsummer peaches lifted into seashell and airy chamomile tones—a big wine that maintains a buzz of energy." (10/2014) Connoisseurs Guide: "*Good Value* Here is a wine that is easy to recommend for its combination of very fresh, well-defined, green-apple fruit as well as its brightness and fine balance. It is cleansing and crisp yet sports a fair sense of depth with integral highlights of minerals and a careful touch of sweet oak, and, while moderately full-bo ...Read More »
According to the winery: "When we say Fossil Point rocks we mean it! Calcareous shale and coarse sand were uplifted from the floor of an ancient ocean and then weathered into place over millennia. It became a place of vast potential. Fossil Point is a rugged headland stretching from Port San Luis to the Guadalupe Dunes. The Point is just five miles due west of the vineyards that are its namesake. Sunny afternoons are cooled by marine breezes sweeping off the Pacific Ocean, along Fossil Point to the vines and grapes. The result are grapes perfectly ripene... Read More »
Katherine's Vineyard is named after owner Barbara Banke's oldest daughter, Katherine. It is a blend from 15 different blocks of both classic and contemporary Chardonnay clones, in sand and granite soils. Aged in barrel for five months in mostly French oak and a little stainless steel. Winemaker Denise Shurtleff says: "The 2013 Katherine’s Vineyard Chardonnay features lively fruit and oak spice aromas supported by citrus, white peach and apple flavors on the palate. Nicely weighted through the mid-palate, the finish is bright and crisp"
From the winery: "The warm vintage resulted in a riper style—more expressive with a fuller, creamier mouthfeel. Ripe melon, tropical fruit, mango and baked apples all mingle amid the round, luscious texture. Dishes with full flavor are great partners to the Chardonnay. Chicken marinated with fresh lemon and rosemary then grilled, panko-crusted halibut or crostini topped with white bean puree are all excellent choices."
91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright yellow-gold. Ripe pear, melon and sweet butter on the deeply scented nose and in the mouth. Weighty and broad but lively too, offering sappy yellow plum and poached pear flavors with a bracing jolt of bitter lemon pith. Closes smooth and long, with a zesty mineral flourish adding lift and focus. Superb value here. (JR)" (12/2014) Antonio Galloni: "Melville's 2012 Chardonnay Estate Verna's is soft, creamy and nicely textured in the glass. Almonds, hazelnuts, yellow stone fruits and spices meld together in a pretty, expressive Chardonnay to drink now and over the next ...Read More »
From the winery: "Pale straw in color, this vintage of Talley Vineyards Estate Chardonnay has aromas of grilled nuts, honeysuckle, and lemon oil. Citrus notes of lemon curd and lime zest characterize this refreshing medium bodied chardonnay. The wine finishes clean with hints of minerality and crushed stone. Enjoy this wine with fresh swordfish or sautéed sea scallops."
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A crazy value, the 2012 Chardonnay Fossil Point was brought up in a combination of stainless steel and neutral oak. Its light gold color is followed by terrific notes of citrus blossom, lime, white flowers and a touch of minerality on the nose. Medium-bodied, pure, pretty and clean, with plenty of fruit, it's a rock-solid Chardonnay that sells for a song. It's also made in decent quantities and is no-brainer case purchase to enjoy over the coming couple of years. This Edna Valley-based estate is run by Rob Rossi and Bill Swanson, with the wines made by M ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
90 points Wine Spectator: "Delivers a tight beam of cream-laced green apple, melon, citrus and honeydew flavors, supported by firm acidity and ending with a persistent, flavorful finish. Drink now. 9,300 cases made. (web only-2015)" Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Chardonnay Estate offers up notes of white currants, peaches and orange blossoms in a medium-bodied style displaying a hint of wet rocks/minerality. The oak component is subtle, and the wine’s fruit dominates. This attractive 2013 will be flexible with an assortment of dishes over the next 4-5 years." (12/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Spicy Asian pear dominates in this l ...Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Asian pear and Meyer lemon curd form a viscous, sensual core of balanced richness and acidity in this lovely wine, from a set of vineyard blocks planted partly to 40-plus-year-old heritage vines. A stony quality permeates throughout the fruit, combining for a sense of refreshing complexity." (9/2015)
Wine & Spirits: "Warm and buttery, this ends on a burst of tropical ripeness, a sweet pineapple tang driven by an edge of volatility. It’s stylized, but there’s flavorful fruit at the center." (6/2015) Wine Enthusiast: "Creamy vanilla complements a medium use of oak in this weighty, tropical wine, given to pineapple, peach and Meyer lemon flavor. Straight forward, inexpensive and intended to be a crowd pleaser, it hits those marks, finishing ripe and layered." (10/2015) K&L Notes: From the Winery: "To preserve this extraordinary vintage, we harvested the grapes at 24 brix and whole cluster pressed the f... Read More »
This is a delicious new Chardonnay made in collaboration with Talley winemaker Eric Johnson. All of the fruit comes from Talley's Oliver's Vineyard. It is a compilation of five different barrels that domestic buyer Bryan Brick chose alongside Johnson down at Talley earlier this year. Here's a breakdown of the components: Barrel #1 is the backbone of the blend; it's earthy and savory, with a wealth of complexity. It's made from the oldest block in the vineyard and the same block that goes into Talley's vineyard-designated Chardonnay. Barrel #2 comes from ... Read More »
"The 2013 Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay from Sonoma County has superior lots of wine from our vineyards in Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley and Carneros. This full-bodied Chardonnay boasts aromas of pear, green apple, honeydew, orange, lychee and peach perfectly balanced by a fruity entry with refreshing acidity with flavors of Meyer lemon, honeysuckle, vanilla, pineapple and a floral finish," explains the winery.