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K&L Staff Recommendations
Wine Spectator: "Tilts toward green apple, pear and citrus flavors, making this bright and refreshingly clean and pure. Drink now. 40,000 cases made." (3/2015) K&L Notes: Cakebread's popular Napa Valley Chardonnay blends the best qualities of grapes grown in the Carneros region on San Pablo Bay with those of warmer areas of the Napa Valley. Look for fresh apple, melon and pear, spicy oak, and rich fruit flavors balanced with mineral tones.
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 »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Newton’s 2012 Chardonnay Unfiltered exhibits lots of honeysuckle, tropical fruit and marmalade, good minerality and excellent acidity that buttresses and provides uplift to the full-bodied, lavish, extravagant nature of this Chardonnay. As this wine ages, it will undoubtedly take on more Burgundy, Bâtard-Montrachet-like characteristics, but it is hard to resist young (which I know from personal experience). Enjoy it over the next 6-10+ years. This cuvée has been one of California’s great classic Chardonnays for over two decades. It also has remarkable ag ...Read More »
92 points Wine Spectator: "Firm and intense, well-focused and vibrant, centered on spicy citrus, green apple and pear flavors, with hints of honeysuckle, white peach and flinty stone. Lingers on the finish, showing a pithy edge to the lemon and green stone fruit notes. Drink now through 2019. 38,900 cases made." (3/2015) K&L Notes: In 2013 the winery notes "an early harvest with beautiful, warm weather, that provided long, even ripening for our Chardonnay. The wine offers tropical aromas of citrus and melon layered with honeysuckle, perfume and toasted oak. A juicy entry transitions to a vibra... Read More »
93 points Antonio Galloni: "The Chardonnay Cahill Lane is the brightest of the three 2012 Chardonnays I tasted. Lemon oil, white flowers, almonds and mint are all laced together in a finely knit, super-refined Chardonnay long on balance and class. This is a terrific showing. The large crop has resulted in a relatively open, expressive Cahill Lane that can be enjoyed upon release. (AG)" (1/2015)93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "More tropical in character with lots of orange marmalade and peach jam notes is the 2012 Chardonnay Cahill Lane, which comes 100% from Old Wente clones planted in Goldridge soils. Stephen Hans ...Read More »
92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "(just 8% new oak): Bright yellow. Rather Chablis-like aromas of apple and resin, plus a hint of honey. Sweet and ripe in the nature of the vintage, offering a touch of creaminess to the flavors of fresh peach, apple, herbs and spices. Shows a broad spectrum of ripeness without any obvious extremes. A very successful vintage for this wine." (6/2014)91 points Antonio Galloni: "Montelena's 2012 Chardonnay has developed beautifully over the last year. Silky and generous on the palate, the 2012 is all about texture. White peach, lemon oil, spice and almond notes woven together in a ...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 »
92 points The Prince of Pinot: "Sourced from Cougar Rock Vineyard. Harvest Brix 22.8º. Whole cluster pressed, native primary and secondary fermentations in 100% French oak barrels, 33% new. Aged 10 months before a light fining and filtration. · Light golden yellow and clear in the glass. Lovely aromas of lemon curd, lime zest, Granny Smith apple and buttery brioche. Very clean, crisp and juicy on the palate, with pleasing flavors of lemon, pear, honey and caramel. Nicely composed, with a lip-smacking, acid-driven finish."
Named to honor Michael Pozzan’s venerable grandmother, Annabella wines are hand sourced from select vineyards throughout the Sonoma and Napa valleys. Whether cabernet sauvignon, merlot or chardonnay, these wines are a toast to a spirited woman of remarkable grace. We remember her love of cooking for family and friends and we celebrate it to this day. Annabella wines represent a wonderful combination of quality and value. This Napa Chardonnay has a medium golden straw color and ripe aromas of fresh mango, passion fruit and kiwi fruit with only a touch of... Read More »
From the winery: "Unusually warm, dry conditions followed by excellent weather throughout harvest yielded an opulent and classically rendered Reserve Chardonnay in 2013. Ripe and sweetly fragrant Bosc pear, batard and caramel aromas are threaded with toasty oak, hazelnut and gunmetal. This provocative array enveloped in tantric satiny texture, lingers on the palate with Burgundian lees character before finally tailing off to a toasty finish." Only 550 cases of this exceptional Chardonnay were produced.
94 points Antonio Galloni: "Ric Forman's 2013 Chardonnay is striking. Lemon oil, white flowers, oyster shells and mint all open up in a wine that brings a little more textural depth to the signature Forman style built on tension and energy. The 2013 is impeccable. It's as simple as that. (AG)" (12/2014)94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Forman Chardonnay is 100% barrel-fermented, sees 10% new oak, but is never put through malolactic. The superb 2013 Chardonnay offers lots of minerality along with notions of white peaches, spring flowers, orange blossoms and poached pears. With loads of fruit, great acid and fines ...Read More »
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."
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Creamy and well-integrated, this offers personality and style. The crisp bite of green apple and lemon curd are textured and long-lasting. With its overall balance, it is a fantastically versatile pairing option." K&L Notes: There are a lot of Chardonnays made in California these days. From the rich, oak driven, tropical style wines to the stainless steel interpretations. The Rutherford Ranch Napa Valley at $12.99 is a nice balance of both. Hints of oak and creaminess with a nice backbone of acidity. The apple and pear notes are well integrated with just a touch of c... Read More »
88-91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Chardonnay reveals plenty of upfront buttery, caramelized fruit, medium to full body and a slight chunkiness in the finish. While very good, it is not at the level of the 2012 Savoir Faire. Drink now through 2020. (RP)" (10/2014) K&L Notes: Pressed whole-cluster and then fermented and aged in 90% new oak. The winery notes that the 2013 "opens with aromas of bright citrus zest, fleshy crane melon and notes of graham cracker. The unctuous mouth feel leads with an elegant restraint and swath of slate that crescendo with flavors of fresh cider apples, juicy ly... Read More »
A big, toasty and rich Chard in the best Napa style. Winery's vintage note: "Our Napa Valley Chardonnay is made using fruit grown on elite vineyards in some of the coolest regions of Napa Valley. With lovely ripeness and definition, as well as fresh, lively acidity, this Chardonnay shows the exceptional quality of the 2013 vintage. Enticing fruit layers of Meyer lemon, apple, pineapple and nectarine rise from the glass, underscored by hints of nutmeg, butter, cinnamon and orange blossom. On the palate, zesty flavors of orange and Key lime are complemente... Read More »
Winemaker's notes: "Long, cool fermentation in a mixture of old and new barrels gives our Chardonnay layers of fruitiness and complexity that result in a wine that is very enjoyable when young or after several years of bottle age. This method of fermentation, in conjunction with whole cluster pressing and "sur lie" aging add layers of toastiness and creaminess to the wine. Together these components meld together harmoniously to create a balanced wine that is both lively and rich in aroma and flavor."
92 points Antonio Galloni: "Hansel's 2011 Chardonnay Cahill Lane is beautiful, soft and layered in the glass. Almonds, honey and dried pears form an attractive backdrop in an accessible Chardonnay with considerable near-term appeal. When I think about estates that embody the essence of the Russian River Valley, Hansel always comes to mind, as the Chardonnays and Pinots are pure expressions of the richness and generosity typical of this part of Sonoma. The Chardonnays are fermented in barrel, with less stirring, and bottled after about 10 months in oak, while the Pinots are made fr ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
From the winery: "This lush and elegant Chardonnay offers vivid aromas of white peach, lime, melon and vanilla bean, followed by undertones of praline, fresh pie dough and pistachio gelato. On the palate, flavors of Bosc pear, honeycrisp apple and Meyer lemon are underscored by beautifully balanced oak, which lends warm nuances and layers of complexity that carry through to the long, silky finish."
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2002 Chardonnay reveals evolution in its orange liqueur, lemon oil, honeyed grapefruit, roasted hazelnut, and leesy personality. With terrific delineation, intensity, and full body, noble purity, and an amazing texture, it represents California’s version of a Batard-Montrachet. These wines tend to age beautifully for 6-7 years, perhaps even longer ... I just never have any bottles left after that period of time. (RP)" (2/2005)94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Wild, gamey aromas of dried fruits, honey, smoke, truffle and nuts. Less fruit-driven and more minerally in the mouth than the ...Read More »
93 points Connoisseurs Guide: "Although showing a bit of youthful constraint right out of the gate, this substantial and nicely concentrated Chardonnay gains traction as it goes and, even if a touch firm and framed by good acidity, it opens and builds on the palate with deep, well-formed, fully ripe fruit, a good dose of creamy oak and a tantalizing touch of baked-bread sweetness. It is a big wine, to be sure, but it is not at all overblown, and it hits the accustomed Darioush mark for fruity amplitude and richness." (7/2015) K&L Notes: You may expect a big Chardonnay from Darioush, but this relea... Read More »
Sourced from Staglin's estate vineyards, this 2013 Chardonnay displays the quality of the flawless 2013 growing season. Rich and concentrated, the wine was barrel-fermented and aged in 61% new wood for 10 months before bottling, but malolactic fermentation was partially restricted to retain brightness and energy. From winemaker Fredrik Johansson: "The flaxen hued 2013 Salus Chardonnay exudes restraint as a result of an abundantly warm growing season juxtaposed by some earlier-than-usual picks to capture and preserve the wonderful freshness the fruit was ... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
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 »
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 Connoisseurs Guide: "*One Star* Vibrant, young, green apple fruit is the driving force of this sleek, nicely made opus with mildly toasty, lightly laid-on oak a constant, if comparatively quiet, companion. The wine is firmly framed and conveys a clear impression of substance and depth, and, while its hard-to-miss acidity may leave it a little taut and tight at the moment, there is no question but that it has very good places to go. Leave it untouched for a couple of years, and know that it will hold for a good many more." (1/2015)
Starting in 2011, Steve Matthiasson leased the Chardonnay vineyard behind his house in the cool Oak Knoll district of Napa Valley. True to the Matthiasson's style, it has a fresh and invigorating profile with just 13% alcohol and only neutral oak barrel treatment. Since the acidity was so high in 2013, they allowed 40% of the barrels to go through malolactic fermentation to soften the wine just enough. From the winery: "Showing green and yellow apples, peaches, melon, and honey on the nose and through to the palate, the high acidity is balanced by pleasa... Read More »
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Vivid yellow. Aromas of poached pear, honey, toasted grain and lemon curd. Fleshy and broad but dry on the palate, offering bitter orchard fruit and citrus pith flavors and a hint of tarragon. Clings nicely on the finish, which repeats the citrus pith note and shows a hint of warmth." (5/2014) K&L Notes: "Textbook" delivers exactly what the name cleverly implies: a textbook, solidly built Napa Chardonnay that's meant for enjoying with your favorite cuisine. Don't erroneously conclude from the smart name, the nice price and convenient, screw cap enclosure this is a... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Wine Spectator: "Fresh, clean and pithy, with taut tangerine, nectarine and citrus blossom flavors, ending with subtle white fruit notes. (Web-2012)" K&L Notes: According to the winery: "'I believe this is going to be a great wine...it already is!' That's what winemaker Mike Chelini says about our 2010 Chardonnay vintage. As always, it is pale straw in color. Its aromas carry a distinctive minerality backed by green apple, Muscat and lemon zest. The mouth feel combines richness and acidity, and it's that balance of fruit and tartness that we always strive for. Apples, lemon and an ea... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
Connoisseurs Guide: "The Chardonnays of Grgich Hills are rarely, if ever, wines that trade on high ripeness and richness, but this very lean, nearly wiry young wine flirts with suggestions of greenness and proves to be very tight-fisted at this point. While we like its freshness and its hard-to-miss vibrancy, we would be happier if it were a little more outgoing in fruit, but given the winery's track record for slow-to-unfold, long-aging white wines, we are willing to set this one aside for several years." (5/2014) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright medium yellow. Aromas of mango, stone and soft citrus f ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Medium in weight and body, this is a delightful, straightforward wine with highlights of apple, pear and fennel. A weightier backbone builds momentum toward the finish; expect a satisfying twist of caramel and vanilla as it ends." (10/2015) K&L Notes: From the winery: "The Raymond Reserve Selection Napa Valley Chardonnay opens with alluring aromas of orange blossom and honeysuckle. Full-bodied with excellent balance, the wine displays flavors of pear, apple and lemon before ending with a long, rich finish."
92 points Antonio Galloni: "Apricot pit, pear, mint, spice and a touch of earthiness are some of the notes that emerge from the 2012 Chardonnay. Sweet floral notes develop in the glass, adding aromatic lift. The 2012 can be enjoyed today, but as Mayacamas fans know, these wines have a way of aging gracefully for many years. (Antonio Galloni)" (12/2014)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Two white wines have just been released, including the 2006 Chardonnay Vintner’s Select. It offers up copious aromas of lemon blossoms, nectarines, pear, crushed rock, and white flowers. Well-made with zesty acidity, it possesses that minerality that emerges from these high elevation vineyards." (12/2007) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Perfumed aromas of lime, white peach and flowers. Suave on entry, then dense and silky in the middle, with ripe acids framing the rather full-bodied flavors. A big, round chardonnay with considerable early appeal." (6/2008) Wine Enthusiast: "This is quite a hefty young Chard ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
89 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Chardonnay is a non-malolactic, old style California Chardonnay that sees little new oak (about 15% new French is utilized). Lots of pear, lemon oil and citrus notes emerge from this crisp, medium-bodied, fresh, lively Chardonnay. Enjoy it over the next 4-5 years." (10/2013) K&L Notes: A flawless growing season saw the Chardonnay grapes for Freemark Abbey's 2012 Chardonnay harvested in a tight two-week window of late September to early October. Vineyards sourced were primarily in Rutherford, with some Carneros and Coombsville fruit contributing to the final ... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
Wine Enthusiast: "A firm minerality, like the tang of cold steel, derives from Spring Mountain’s soil. That metallic note adds an interesting dimension to the wine’s fruitier flavors of apricots, mangoes and peaches. The winemaker added some Oak Knoll fruit, which contributes citrus acidity for balance." (4/2014) K&L Notes: Keenan's 2012 Chardonnay was hand-harvested and the gently pressed juice fermented in a combination of French and American oak barrels. The wine continued to age in-barrel with weekly lees stirring, but no malolactic fermentation was carried out in order to retain ... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "A Chardonnay that did not go through malolactic fermentation and was aged in 20% new French oak, this is bristling in acidity and crispness, with a suggestion of lemon and vanilla wafer on the palate. The finish remains crisp though abbreviated." (11/2014)
Inventory: Redwood City
90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard reveals more stony minerality than the 2012. Crisp honeysuckle, tangerine and caramelized citrus notes intermixed with a hint of apple skins are found in this elegant, medium to full-bodied 2013 along with zesty acids and super purity. Drink now-2018." (10/2014)
The Annabella range from owner/winemaker Michael Pozzan is named in honor of his grandmother. The wines are made from select vineyards in Napa and Sonoma counties each vintage. Their Chardonnay is barrel-aged in French oak and undergoes partial malolactic fermentation to create a full-flavored, medium-bodied version of Chardonnay, with ripe pear and apple fruit, hints of melon and creme brulee accents.
A rich, classic Napa Valley Chardonnay at a great value! From Craig Handly, Winemaker: "The 2012 Harvest was very abundant in the Napa Valley growing region. It was a ten out of ten for both fruit quality and volume. “One in Twenty” the old timers called it and the fruit expresses it. The 2012 Sentall fruit was grown by Tom Carpenter in the Carpenter Vineyards in St. Helena. What I strive for in this wine is to have it express personality with a fruit and oak balance. Sentall is thus a stand alone as well as a food Chardonnay. Crisp lemon, melon and gree... Read More »
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, with a crisp food-friedliness that characterizes all of Derek Rohlffs wines. The vineyard sources can't be disclosed, but the quality is unmistakable. A great choice for Rombauer fans - a step up in quality at a better price! From the Winery: "Aged 10 months i... Read More »
92 points Wine & Spirits: "Barrel fermented without having gone through malolactic conversion, this is a firm, completely savory Chardonnay, gaining its viscosity from the richness of alcohol. The oak feels integrated, driving star-fruit flavors toward earthier tones of bitter almond. A full-bodied white for a veal chop." (4/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Good minerality, crisp red currants and citrus emerge from this fresh, lively, medium-bodied 2013 Chardonnay. (RP)" (10/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Soft layers of faint lemon, fig and yellow apple stand out in this pretty, straightforward and slightly tart white, the whole of the ...Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Candied lemon drop comes first to mind in terms of the wine’s bouquet, which settles into more subtle orange blossom. Sublime and layered in characteristic apple and pear, it shows tartness on the abbreviated finish." (8/2015)
92 points Robert Parker: "Similarly styled to the Estate with wonderful intensity, but tighter, more elegant as well as full-bodied, the 2005 Chardonnay Cahill Lane offers up hints of honeysuckle, pears, white peaches, currants, minerals, and toasty oak in the background. It will provide impressive drinking over the next 5-7 years. Kudos to Stephen Hansel for keeping prices so realistic." (12/06) 92 points and two stars from the Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine: "Long on very rich oak and redolent of vanilla, sweet toast and creme brulee in the nos... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
This is Darioush's "Signature" Chardonnay, which comes from Darioush estate vineyards in Oak Knoll and Carneros. It's barrel fermented and age sur lie for 11 months with weekly battonage, giving the wine a rich texture to balance its expansive fruit. Lime, orange and honeysuckle scents lead the way to a an apple and peach-flavored palated, with hazelnut spice cookie accents and just a touch of minerality.
Inventory: Main Warehouse
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "White Rock’s 2012 Chardonnay is a classy effort displaying good minerality along with hints of poached pears, white peaches, quince and a touch of apple butter. Medium-bodied, fresh, complex and impeccably well-balanced, it displays impressive craftsmanship. Drink it over the next 4-5 years." (10/2014)
Jancis Robinson: "Expressive and ripe on the nose, with all the typical stuffing of Napa Chardonnay. Aromatically spiced oak giving clove and something a bit peppery. Plenty of alcoholic warmth. (RH)" (3/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The attractive 2012 Chardonnay reminded me of Chardonnays from the 1970s and early 1980s. The wine was aged in French oak for eight months, but you would never know that from the aromatics and flavors. With delicate, crisp citrus, this fresh, lively, Chablis-like effort reveals a hint of minerality. (RP)" (10/2014) Wine Spectator: "Pure and clean, this is marked by zesty citrus, green p ...Read More »
This small production Chardonnay is rich and buttery with a creamy texture and spicy finish. Most of the fruit for the Chardonnay is from the Oakville Appellation within the Napa Valley.
Inventory: Main Warehouse
"Sporting a vibrant chartreuse yellow color with glimmers of gold and green, the 2010 Salus Chardonnay presents a great interplay of exuberance and restraint. The nose is profuse with jasmine lifted and vanilla infused lychee and guava coated with a faint dusting of pulverized river rocks that draws you into the rich palate of pineapple-centric sweet tropical fruits energized and lengthened by a vibrant and tangy acidity of sour apple candies and preserved lemon rinds framed by enticing notes of toasty oak. Wonderfully fresh now but with the potential to... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse