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K&L Staff Recommendations
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Sbragia displays a Midas touch with Chardonnay, and the 2013 Chardonnay Home Ranch is a big-time winner. Aged in 50% new oak and 50% older oak, it exhibits buttery crème brûlée and tangerine oil notes intermixed with honeysuckle and pineapple. Medium to full-bodied and luscious, with admirable fruit intensity as well as a long, textured, luscious finish, it can be drunk over the next 2-3 years. This is also a stunning value for a Chardonnay of this quality. Highly-respected, long-time veteran winemaker Ed Sbragia received some terrific reviews in the Nap ...Read More »
94 points Vinous: "The 2013 Chardonnay is built on breadth textural richness. Candied lemon, honey and almonds flesh out in a deep, powerful Chardonnay built on explosive energy and breadth. The resonant, unctuous finish is striking. Every time I go to Mayacamas there is something new to see. The redevelopment of this historic estate proceeds at what looks like a very rapid pace, even if it will be many years before the results of the work being done today shows up in the wines. Mayacamas is most known for their epic Cabernet Sauvignons, but this year I was equally impres ...Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
This is textbook Russian River Chardonnay with the medium-bodied weight of the palate meshing beautifully with the refreshing fruit on the finish. It's the perfect California white wine. We can talk to you for hours about how delicious this new Kalinda Chardonnay is--how we fell in love with the wine from the first moment we tasted it--we just can't tell you where we got it from. We can tell you this much, however: our Kalinda private label hooks you up with an awesome wine at a fraction of what you'd otherwise pay for this exact same wine under its norm... Read More »
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.
Cool climate Carneros fruit and Rombauer's house style of élevage make this Chard a top choice vintage after vintage.
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 »
Inventory: San Francisco
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 »
94 points Vinous: "The 2013 Chardonnay Cuvée Alyce is a great example of the Hansel house style. Rich, textured and voluptuous to the core, the 2013 boasts stunning depth and pure resonance. Honey, white flowers, butter, orange blossoms and an element of exoticism on the creamy finish. What a gorgeous wine this is. 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...Quality is h ...Read More »
96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Proprietary White Mannequin, which draws fruit from diverse regions of Northern California such as the Carneros Basin and the Sonoma Coast, is actually a blend of 76% Chardonnay, 8% Viognier, 6% Marsanne, 5% Grenache Blanc, 3% Muscat and 2% Roussanne. This is amazing wine, a gorgeous, full-throttle, honeyed wine with a light-gold color, oodles of tropical fruits including pineapple and mango, rose petal and floral notes, and beautifully integrated oak (aged in 40% new French oak on its lees for 11 months). This full-throttle wine is completely d ...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 Vinous: "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 »
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!"
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!
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) Vinous: "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) K&L Notes: The Var... Read More »
97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "One of my favorites is the 2012 Chardonnay Upper Barn, which boasts remarkable intensity as well as lots of tropical fruit, a stony-like minerality, and a full-bodied, layered mouthfeel. This is a multi-dimensional, profound Chardonnay (as it often was when made by Helen Turley) from a vineyard planted with an Old Wente clone as well as the Hyde clone of Chardonnay. It should drink well for 5-6 years. Stonestreet’s wines continue to go from strength to strength under the direction of South African winemaker Graham Weerts. The Chardonnays are spectacular. ...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 »
93 points Vinous: "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 »
93 points Wine & Spirits: "A captivating balancing act, this blend of fruit from the Camp Meeting Ridge estate and other coastal sites feels at once concentrated and weightless. The first impression is one of healthy, plump fruit-ripe apricot, perhaps a hint of caramelized sugar-but it hews to a clean line, the flavors growing more earthy as taut acidity pulls toward crisp, green-tinged suggestions of seashells and borage flowers. More than the flavors themselves, it’s the overall impression of satiny grace that gives this coastal white its beauty." (4/2015) 92 points Vinous: "The 2013 Chardonnay (Son ...Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "There are 1,260 cases of the 2013 Chardonnay Estate, a great bargain. At a retail price of $25 a bottle, it is hard to get more flavor and complexity in a Chardonnay than this cuvée possesses. Notes of poached pear, honeysuckle and white peach notes are offered in an elegant, medium-bodied, lively style. Like all of the Walter Hansel Chardonnays, it went through 100% malolactic fermentation, and was aged 10 months in 30-40% new French oak. Consume it over the next 5-6 years." (12/2014) 91 points Vinous: "The 2013 Chardonnay Estate is another superb value from Hansel. Lemon p ...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.
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Orange blossoms, nectarines, white flowers and honey all flesh out in the 2011 Chardonnay Bear Point. Another wine that manages to be both rich but not ponderous, the 2011 Bear Point blossoms in all directions as the fruit opens up in the glass. A creamy, highly expressive finish rounds things out in style. The Bear Point is made from the “Peter Michael” Chardonnay clone, which is believed to have originated on this property! Anticipated maturity: 2014-2018. (AG)" (4/2013) 92 points Vinous: "Orange blossoms, nectarines, white flowers and honey all flesh out in the 2011 Chard ...Read More »
93 points Vinous: "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 »
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 »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Editors' Choice* In this crisp, tangy white from a cool-climate home, tangerine and pineapple play off each other around a fluffy backbone and structured minerality. More of that tang comes to the fore on the finish, this being a bang-for-your-buck kind of wine that will delight at the dinner table or in the kitchen while cooking." (7/2015) 92 points Vinous: "The 2013 Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast) is a terrific appellation-level bottling. Lemon oil, apricot pit, white pepper and chamomile are all very much alive in this beautifully expressive, pliant Chardonnay. The finish bris ...Read More »
From the winery: "Monterey County is one of the best appellations in the world for producing Chardonnay. This region benefits from cool morning fog and afternoon breezes that result in a long growing season, producing intense fruit flavors balanced with vibrant acidity. Mer Soleil Silver is a pure, clean expression of our estate-grown Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay. The grapes that go into this Chardonnay are of the highest quality for a number of reasons: the unique climate, our vineyard location on east-facing slopes, vine-to-vine uniformity, low-yie... 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 »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "The largest production offering of this variety for this producer, this features fruit sourced from a who’s who of local growers, including Sangiacomo, Dutton and Martinelli, in addition to the estate-run Wildcat Mountain Vineyard. The result is satisfyingly impressive in viscous oak, graham cracker and Meyer lemon. Tangy and flinty on the finish, it’s smooth and focused." (1/2016) 90 points Wine Spectator: "Presents a delicious core of vibrant grapefruit and lemon-laced tangerine and white peach notes. Those who value zesty acidity will love this, as the acidity keeps the flavors f ...Read More »
96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Chardonnay Four Hearts Vineyard is a larger cuvée of 1,285 cases that comes from relatively old vines for Northern California (planted in 1975). The wine is super-opulent, offering terrific honeysuckle, orange marmalade and pineapple notes in a full-bodied, sexy, super-fresh, pure style. This stunning Chardonnay was aged in 43% new French oak and should drink well for 5-6 years. With proprietor Don Hartford in full control, and brilliant winemaker Jeff Stewart having access to some magnificent cool-climate sites (for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and ...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)
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 »
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 »
Vinous: "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)
90 points Connoisseurs Guide: "Once again not a wine that introduces itself with a big flourish of ripeness and oak, this one starts out just a bit on the lean side but fills in and fills out as it goes. It is comfortably fruity with a nice mix of citrus and both ripe and green apples as its central message, and, while not absent of oak, it keeps the latter to a judicious minimum. If by a slight margin the most forward of the Farrell clan, it nonetheless possesses fine potential for aging and will improve for several years." (7/2014) 90 points Wine Enthusiast: "A mix of fruit spanning across the Russian River Vall ...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)"
From the winery: "Our two vineyards perched in the hills above the Sonoma valley, one in the Mayacama range to the west and one on Sonoma Mountain to the east both produce elegant, lifted wines that speak to the elevated nature of the plantings and the remarkable, well drained volcanic soils present at both sites."
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 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) Vinous: "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 »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Decadent aromas of golden pear and Tahitian vanilla rise to the top of this incredibly well-crafted wine, a blend of multiple vineyard sources, most of them single-vineyard designated in other wines. Steely minerality buoys the overall experience, with a touch of vanilla custard. The wine is rich on the aroma yet balanced in taste, with a finishing accent of orange blossom." (6/2015) 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Chardonnay Russian River (nearly 14,000 cases produced) reveals leesy notes in addition to wet pebbles, white peach, delicate pineapple and caramelized citrus. Medium ...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 »
From the winery: "2012 was an abundant and ideal growing season in the Sta. Rita Hills. The grapes ripened evenly producing both high quality and quantity due to a mild spring and summer with little rain, and no frost. The moderate weather provided for low disease pressure during the growing season. Sta. Rita Hills is one of the premier AVAs for Chardonnay in California. The wines have that rare combination of power and structure that can only come from low yielding, cool-climate, coastal vineyards. This 2012 offers a bouquet of crème brulee and lemon me... 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"
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 »
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 »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Chardonnay Dutton Ranch comes from some of the Ranch’s oldest vines, planted in 1969. This Burgundian/Meursault-like effort reveals notes of orange marmalade, tangerine oil, hazelnuts, almond paste and wet rocks. Complex, rich and full with fresh, zesty acidity, this beauty should drink well for 6-8 years. It comes from such California Heirloom clones as Hyde-Wente, Davis, Robert Young and Rued. (RP)" (12/2014) K&L Notes: Founded by four wine-bedazzled friends in the 1980s, and provisionally titled "Project X," Patz & Hall has grown into its role as one of N... Read More »