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K&L Staff Recommendations
94 points Vinous: "Beringer's 2013 Chardonnay Private Reserve emerges from Gamble Ranch in Oakville. Classy, polished and restrained, the 2013 is absolutely superb. Above all else, the 2013 is a wine of finesse. Hints of pastry, baked apple and spices are woven into the super-expressive, oily finish. This was my first tasting at Beringer following Laurie Hook's move into the role of Winemaker Emeritus. Mark Beringer, the great-great grandson of founder Jacob Beringer, is the newly arrived Chief Winemaker. These are all Laurie Hook's wines, though. Needless to say, it will ...Read More »
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.
Although famous for their Cabs, Heitz Cellar has been making Chardonnay since their founding in 1961. Fruit is sourced from across the Napa Valley, and the resulting wine is layered with an emphasis on mineral and fruit. French oak is employed in vinification, but the wine is not marked by new wood or high alcohol. From the winery: "All of the best elements of the varietal are seamlessly aligned in our 2014 Napa Valley Chardonnay. This rich, complex Chardonnay is surprisingly bright and elegant on the palate. Lush aromatics open effortlessly into flavors... Read More »
95 points Wine Spectator: "A bold, rich and creamy style that's remarkably elegant and graceful, with a bounty of ripe flavors built around white peach, nectarine, honeysuckle, fig and floral aromas. Finishes with a long sustained finish that keeps repeating the fruit themes. Drink now through 2021. 2,000 cases made. (Web Only, 2015)"
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 Vinous: "The just-bottled 2013 Chardonnay is vibrant and fresh, with a little more cut than is typically the case, the result of a year in which acidities are higher. Lemon peel, white flowers and crushed rocks are wonderfully expressive in this finely-sculpted Chardonnay from Montelena. There is plenty to look forward to here." (12/2014)
Far Niente is a benchmark for quality in Napa Valley. The 2014 vintage has yet to be reviewed, but the 2013 earned 92 points from Wine Spectator with rave reviews: "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, with a pithy edge to the lemon and green stone fruit notes. Drink now through 2019." (06/2015)
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 »
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."
93 points Vinous: "White Rock's 2013 Chardonnay is bright and beautifully focused, with tons of lemon oil, white flowers and stony, mineral notes. Drink this vibrant, steely Chardonnay over the next handful of years. Readers who enjoy Chardonnays built on a Chablis-like model of precision will find plenty to admire in this striking wine from White Rock." (10/2015)
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."
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 »
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 »
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)
Though few remember it today, Trefethen Chardonnay comes with "Olympic" credentials. At the 1979 Gault Millau World Wine Olympics, held in Paris three years after the famed "Judgement of Paris" tasting that made Chateau Montelena famous for their Chardonnay, Trefethen's 1976 Chardonnay was named best in the world over a much wider field of entrants. Trefethen's 2014 Chardonnay is entirely sourced from their Main Ranch estate vineyard in Napa Valley's Oak Knoll District, a sweet spot in between Pinot Noir country in Carneros and Cab country to the north.... 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 »
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: "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)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Chardonnay Reserve increases the amount of oak (100% barrel-fermentation and 15 months in new French oak), resulting in copious notes of vanillin and spice box intermixed with pineapple, pear and white currant characteristics. (RP)" (10/2014)
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." (1/2015)
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."
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 »
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Chardonnay Napa displays beautiful honeysuckle, lemon oil, and hints of nectarine and poached pear, and has a Burgundian, Bâtard-Montrachet-like texture and richness. The wine is sensationally rich and once again a great success from this winery, which has had such an incredible track record for world-class Chardonnays. This should drink well for another 5-7 years, as their record for aging is brilliant. (RP)" (12/2015) 93 points Vinous: "Pahlmeyer's 2013 Chardonnay is gorgeous and also a fascinating contrast to Chardonnay from the family's Wayfarer property on the ...Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A weightless, textured wine, the 2011 Chardonnay Cahill Lane impresses for its sensual personality and pure grace. There is a level of finesse in 2011 that is simply fabulous. Dried apricots, flowers and sweet spices are layered into the finish. This is a relatively soft, approachable wine for the year. It should drink nicely upon release. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2017. I was quite taken with the wines I tasted with proprietor Stephen Hansel earlier this year...As was the case throughout California, 2011 was an exceptionally long and cold growing seas ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
According to the winery: "The Watson Ranch vineyard is perched on a steep hillside overlooking the San Pablo Bay in the southernmost end of the Napa Valley. The vineyard can be seen on the top of the hill just east of the Green Island Vineyard which we sourced fruit from 2007-09. Exposed and austere, the Watson Ranch is a wind whipped site planted in 1993 by the talented grower Salvador Ramos on marine deposits over limestone. This soil type is extremely rare on the North Coast and lends itself perfectly to growing world class Chardonnay. This soil coupl... Read More »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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)
Plumpjack opts not for the typical profile of Napa Chardonnay with this bottling, but for the "alternative," without malolactic fermentation, and the attendant buttery palate profile. The winery's vintage note explains: "The cooler Carneros site imparts this wine with fresh green apple and Bartlett pear on the nose, while the warmer St. Helena site lends to some tropical notes. The Carneros vineyard also gives this wine a beautiful, bright, lively acidity, which is balanced by the creamy, rich texture of the St. Helena fruit. A touch of oak gives the win... 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 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 Vinous: "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)
Inventory: Redwood City
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "Aromas of orange blossom and jasmine intoxicate on the entry of this delightful wine, which combines in complex ways to offer savory fennel with a creaminess to the texture. That complexity continues through the finish, which ends long and lean. (VB)" (5/2015) Wine Spectator: "Offers a complex mix of creamy, vanilla-scented oak and snappy, fresh green apple, melon and honeysuckle flavors, folding together on the finish, where this shows a pithy edge. (JL)" (7/2015)
Sourced from the Garvey, Genny’s, Stagecoach, Hudson & Hyde Vineyards. Harvested August 28 - September 27, 2013 at 22.4 - 26.2 Brix. Elevage takes place in 30% new French oak 30& used oak, and 40% stainless steel with 50% malolactic fermentation. According to the winery: "Sourced from low-yielding vineyards in Napa Valley, our Chardonnay is characterized by crisp apple, ripe melon and citrus flavors gently balanced with toasty French oak. Our winemaker uses a malolactic fermentation in moderation to retain the wine’s bright acidity. More than a decade af... Read More »
Though the current vintage has yet to be reviewed, the 2013 vintage garnered 90 points from Wine Enthusiast: "Dark gold in color, this is a viscous, ripe and creamy white, layered in minerality and fresh-cut stone fruit. From a mighty mountainous vineyard, it offers bold, full-bodied flavor and texture, a testament to its site, and finishes big in juicy Golden Delicious apple and pear."
Jancis Robinson: "Fresh and creamy, warm and juicy. Opulent fruit with an attractive autolytic note. Muscular and potent. (RH)" (3/2015) Wine Spectator: "Tilts toward green apple, pear and citrus flavors, making this bright and refreshingly clean and pure." (6/2015)
2002, 2005-2006 Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay Tasting Lot
Bid on this 6-bottle lot of 2002, 2005-2006 Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay Tasting Lot, including 1-bottle of 2002 Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay, 3-bottles of 2005 Chateau Montelena Napa Chardonnay (92RP), and 2-bottles of 2006 Chateau Montelena Napa Chardonnay (91RP, 89ST). Of the 2005 Chateau Montelena Napa Chardonnay,92 points Robert Parker writes: "One of the few California Chardonnays that behaves like a grand cru Chablis is Chateau Montelena’s non-malolactic Chardonnay Napa, which rarely sees more than 10-20% new oak. As usual, the 2005 exhibits a nervous edge as well as loads of lemon butter, green apple, and white currant-like characteristics, laser-like precision, superb acidity, and surprising intensity as well as richness. Readers who prefer less oak in their Chardonnays should give this zesty, light, boldly-flavored example a look." (12/06)
This lot contains the following items:
2002 Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay (qty: 1)
2005 Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay (qty: 3)
2006 Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Chardonnay (qty: 2)
End Date: Feb 15 2016 10:30AM PT
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.
Inventory: Main Warehouse
94 points Vinous: "Green pears, white flowers, mint and white peaches open up in the 2013 Chardonnay Haynes Vineyard, a dry-farmed site in Coombsville planted with head-trained, own-rooted vines. The style is bright, floral and precise. Expressive saline notes support the nuanced, impeccable finish. There is so much to admire here. This is a fascinating set of wines from Failla and Ehren Jordan. With this many selections of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah, what comes across is an excellent representation of the year. The 2013 Chardonnays are fabulous, while the Pinots an ...Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
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
94 points Vinous: "The 2013 Chardonnay is rich, ample and gorgeous. Orange peel, mint, spices, butter, mango and tropical fruit meld together effortlessly in the glass. The 2013 is a big, typically Californian Chardonnay, but even with all of its richness, it remains light on its feet. The malolactic fermentation is mostly blocked, but there is still plenty of intensity. Over the last few years, winemaker Fredrik Johansson has moved towards a greater reliance of larger 500 and 600 liter barrels." (12/2014) 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Lastly, their 2013 Chardonnay displays oodles of pineapple, poached p ...Read More »
96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Chardonnay Hope’s Cuvée, a selection of the best lots and barrels, is a stunning Chardonnay. There are 379 cases of this wine, which went through 44% malolactic and was aged in 56% new French oak. The wine shows plenty of orange blossom, honeysuckle, lemon custard and crushed rock notes. It is certainly very Burgundian and almost like a grand cru from the village of Puligny-Montrachet. Terrific stuff, with stunning texture and richness ... (RP)" (10/2015)
Inventory: Main Warehouse