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K&L Staff Recommendations
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 »
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 crème brûlée, 90% of the wine was fermented in oak barrels, with the remaining 10% fermented in stainless steel to maintan a bracing vein of freshness and acid.
Aptly named and always a favorite in the rich California style, Butternut is a luxuriously textured Chardonnay. Aromas of baked apple, hazelnut, and creme brulee fill the nose and reverberate on the palate with notes of peach, fig, butterscotch, and toasty oak. Grapes for the 2012 bottling were sourced from important growing regions across California including Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, and Monterey. The result is a generous and concentrated Chardonnay that creates a statewide snapshot of the bountiful 2012 harvest.
The 2013 Kalinda Napa Valley Chardonnay comes from one of the top domestic Chardonnay producers, but as part of our agreement to acquire the wine, we cannot divulge to you who it is. Suffice it to say, this is always among the best bargains in the store--a luscious Chardonnay that would normally sell at a much higher premium. We're guessing it won't be around for long. This Chardonnay has a slight connection to the famous Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that won the French-American tasting in 1976.
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!"
Formerly run by Rombauer, Napa Cellars has been a Trinchero family property since 2006. Winemaker Joe Shirley introduced French oak to the Chardonnay program there, for a more finessed version of the rich, buttery (and eminently affordable) Napa Valley Chardonnay for which they've become known.
91 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills is beautiful. Dried pear, almonds, orange peel and spices meld together in a textured, resonant Chardonnay laced with gorgeous depth and balance. Never content to stay put, Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton continue to push the envelope on quality in the Sta. Rita Hills. Over the years, Brewer and Clifton have had an enormous impact on the region, both directly and indirectly, in giving advice to newly arrived owners and developing a number of vineyards they no longer farm. The most recent development at Brewer-Clifton is ...Read More »
A dry vintage and an ocean-influenced, cool climate add up to a great value in 80% barrel-fermented Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay. The winery's tasting note: "A combination of barrel and stainless steel fermentation resulted in bright and floral aromatics, with layers of pear, apple and citrus, highlighted with a hint of vanilla. The intense fruit in this wine is beautifully integrated with refreshing acidity and French oak. Sleepy Hollow's signature mineral character and creamy textures add complexity to a long, explosive finish."
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "This is a delightfully floral and lemony-crisp wine, with a touch of creme brulee blanced between layers of citrus. Despite the rich accent, it's light-bodied and easy to like, offering subtle complexity and a sultry, spicy finish." - Advanced Buying Guide" (12/2014) K&L Notes: Au Contraire comes from California’s prestigious Sonoma Coast AVA. With over 2,000 acres of vineyards, this appellation extends from San Pablo Bay in the south to the border with Mendocino County in the north. With most vineyards located above fog line, a cool climate and beneficial rainfall l... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "A percentage of the 2012 Chardonnay Estate comes from the same clone planted on the famous Alexander Mountain estate of Jess Jackson's (the Upper Barn clone of Chardonnay). The wine is aged for eight months, half in oak and half in stainless steel. The impression is one of a full-throttle Maconnais with loads of white peach, apricot, honeysuckle and buttered/caramelized citrus. It is elegant, fresh, seems relatively neutral when it comes to oak seasonings, and has good depth and richness. This is a beauty to drink over the next several years. (RP) ...Read More »
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 »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "An unabashedly rich and luscious wine, this combines ripe and fresh fruit flavors with luxurious spicy, buttery accents and an almost thick texture. With a subtext as savory as Udon broth it’s practically a meal in a bottle. Call it full-bodied, full- flavored, ultrasmooth and impressive." (6/2015)90 points Wine Spectator: "Showcases rich tropical fruit, with dashes of mango, marmalade and honeyed citrus that coat the palate while remaining elegant and delicate. A noteworthy achievement. Drink now through 2017" (4/2015)
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)
Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Chardonnay (Sonoma County) is absolutely delicious. Apricot pit, peach, honey, mint and chamomile flesh out in a bold, racy Chardonnay to drink now and over the next few years. Once again, Lioco delivers superb value with the Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. Lioco stands out for wines that deliver pure pleasure. Every glass seems to call for another in these superb, impeccable whites and reds. Winemaker John Raytek makes the Lioco wines in a slightly riper style than he favors at Ceritas, which puts Lioco closer to the center. Best of all, pricing rema ...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 »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The impressive 2012 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast displays delicate honey, white peach and floral notes followed by a medium to full-bodied Chardonnay with good freshness, excellent purity and fine texture. This cleanly made, beautifully crafted, well-balanced 2012 should be consumed over the next 5-6 years. (RP)" (12/2014) K&L Notes: A blend fruit from Anaba's estate vineyard (named J McK) in Carneros, Denmark Vineyard in the southern end of the Sonoma Valley and choice vineyards from the acclaimed Dutton Ranch (Mills Station Vineyard and DuttonHouse Block) in the Russian... Read More »
Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Chardonnay is another fabulous wine for the money. This racy, impeccably balanced Chardonnay delivers the goods, and then some. Pear, spice and melon notes flesh out in a delicious, hugely attractive wine to drink now and over the next few years. Brian Talley's Bishop's Peak label is full of affordable, everyday wines that mostly over deliver next to their very reasonable price points. (AG)" (7/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Talley Vineyards’ bargain brand offers light lemon and chalk aromas before delivering a palate where brisk acidity is the primary player. White rock ...Read More »
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 »
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Chardonnay Estate, from a vineyard planted in 1976 and 1989, was aged in 38% new Francois Freres barrels, and goes through malolactic with lees stirring for about 6-8 weeks. Another terrific value, this 1,000-case beauty exhibits lots of white peach, honeyed citrus, brioche and pineapple notes enhanced by a gentle seasoning of wood spice, a full-bodied mouthfeel and loads of fruit as well as exuberance. There is a heavy underpinning of minerality running through this attractive Chardonnay. (RP)" (12/2013)91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright yellow. Potent orchard and citrus f ...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 »
Wine Spectator: "Features juicy sour pineapple and tropical fruit notes that are pure and direct. More simple than complex. No oak." K&L Notes: From the winery: "A pale yellow hue, the wine is well balanced with great structure. Bright minerality, pink grapefruit and key lime characters shine through on the nose, followed by lemon zest and stone fruit. The mid-palate displays intriguing notes of lemon meringue, quince and citrus, complemented by a crisp acidity that carries through from start to finish. The higher acidity in this wine makes it a perfect accompaniment to a wide array ... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "**The Enthusiast 100 of 2014 - #17** Buttered toast, oaky smoke and a slight mango tropicality converge for an epic nose on this Chardonnay from a vineyard that was planted in 1976. There are layers of flavor too, lime citrus at first evolving toward brioche with a butterscotch finish, and some salt and cracked pepper throughout." (11/2014)91 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Chardonnay Wolff Vineyard is once again striking. Honey, almonds, apricots, dried pears and spices meld together in a resonant, deeply expressive Chardonnay from a late ripening site in Edna Valley. This is one ...Read More »
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Light gold. Aromas of fresh pear and melon, with a honeyed aspect adding depth. Juicy and open-knit, offering plump orchard fruit flavors braced by a touch of lemon curd. Closes with good sappy cling, an echo of bitter citrus zest and spicy persistence. This wine's balance of richness and energy makes it highly flexible with food; it's also quite easy to drink by itself." (12/2013) K&L Notes: Always a crowd pleaser and great value in Central Coast Chardonnay. From the winery: "A pure fruit expression of our vineyard, Talbott Chardonnay, Kali Hart is lush and live... 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 »
Wine Enthusiast: "Coffee, cinnamon apples and a hefty swirl of smoke arise on the nose from the winery’s entry-level bottling. The palate shows caramelized pears, nicely bitter lemon rinds and warm, buttered nut toffee note that carries from first sip to the finish." (5/2015) K&L Notes: Byron's estate vineyard is the site of Santa Barbara County's first commercial vineyard, which was first planted in 1964. From the winery: "The 2013 vintage was an overall dry year with a moderate winter and spring. These conditions led to an abundance of extremely high quality fruit with flavors of s... Read More »
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 »
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 »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Luli is a joint project between the Pisoni Family and Master Sommelier Sara Floyd. These 2012s are the best yet from this label and they all represent superb values! Tel. (800) 946-3130; www.luliwines.com Aged half in stainless steel and half in neutral barrel, the 2013 Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands offers impressive minerality (especially at the price) to go with lively lychee, citrus blossom and peach-like aromas and flavors. Medium-bodied, pure, layered and decidedly pretty, drink it over the coming couple of years." (10/2014) Antonio Galloni: "A gorgeous wine, the 2 ...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 »
Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Tous Ensemble Chardonnay is a pretty, entry-level offering from vineyards in Anderson Valley. Apricot pit, pastry, tangerine peel and lightly honeyed notes flesh out in a soft, nuanced Chardonnay to drink now and over the next few years. I was quite taken with the wines I tasted from Copain and proprietor Wells Guthrie this year. The Tous Ensemble range delivers outstanding value, while the best Syrahs and Pinots soar with exceptional beauty and a sense of weightlessness that is compelling. In particular, several of the 2012 Syrahs are utterly ...Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "As most readers know, you don't find Russian River Chardonnay at this price point, and winemaker David Cronin has turned out a very nice one. Crisp, elegant and fruity with delicate pear, white peach and honeysuckle, medium body and a dry finish. (RP)" (11/2014) K&L Notes: The winemaker's notes on the 2013 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, aged on the lees with a judicious percentage of new oak: "The Russian River Chardonnay displays abundant floral/ stone fruit aromas lightly accented by toasty, graham cracker sur-lie qualities. The mouthfeel is creamy and full but t... Read More »
90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Pale yellow-gold. Aromas of nectarine, orange pith and white flowers, with touch of smokiness in the background. Starts off tight and focused, then puts on weight with air, offering juicy pear and pit fruit flavors and a hint of toasty lees. The orange quality comes back strong on the finish, which lingers with very good mineral-driven persistence." (5/2014) Wine Spectator: "Presents a tight beam of cherry-laced gravel, dried herb and cedar notes, ending clean and vibrant. Drink now through 2020." (9/2014) K&L Notes: La Crema has built its brand around this kind of wine: a solidly d... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Buttered sourdough toast and a slight nuttiness kick off another excellent Chardonnay from the ever-reliable Talley. The palate is greeted with minerality that fades into an apple butter flavor alongside a pinch of cinnamon, culminating in a graceful vanilla finish." (12/2014)90 points Antonio Galloni: "Butter, pastry, honey and yellow stone fruits meld together in the 2012 Chardonnay Estate. The 2012 is generous, soft and accessible, with pretty smoke, spice and honey overtones that add complexity. The 2012 is a great choice for drinking now and over the next few years. Rincon and ...Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Another winner and a very good value are the 11,500 cases of the 2012 Chardonnay Sonoma. Made primarily from Alexander Valley barrel-fermented fruit, it possesses crisp acidity, lots of buttery citrus and white peach notes along with little evidence of oak, medium to full body, and a rich, layered mouthfeel. Enjoy it over the next 2-4 years. (RP)" (12/2013)90 points Wine Enthusiast: "The Bennett Valley-based producer employed fruit from its neighborhood for this wine, filling it out with a majority of grapes from Alexander Valley. Rich in caramel and matchstick, it’s an integrated w ...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 »
A collaboration with famed sportscaster Jim Nantz. The winery describes this white as a "classic Chardonnay was blended from select Dutton Ranch vineyards in the prestigious Russian River Valley appellation. Barrel fermentation and sur lie aging have created a rich and creamy wine with notes of stone fruit, citrus, melon, toasted nuts, and vanilla bean. Bright acidity and a long finish make this wine an excellent dinner companion."
Inventory: Main Warehouse
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Chardonnay Grand Reserve (200,000 cases produced) is composed of Monterey and Santa Barbara fruit that spent nine months in largely French oak as well as smaller quantities of American wood. One-third is new, and this cuvee is put through full malolactic fermentation as opposed to the other Chardonnays where it is generally partially or completely blocked. Copious quantities of tropical fruits, pineapples, mangoes, apricot marmalade and honeyed citrus are found in this clean white that finishes with good acidity and a distant minerality. It was ...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.
100% Chardonnay 100% Block 4, El Camino Vineyard, Los Alamos Clone 4 100% Stainless steel fermentation 26% aged 6 months in new Francois Freres puncheons 74% aged in stainless steel on fermentation lees no malo-lactic fermentation 822 cases produced
90 points Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast) from CrossBarn is bright, focused and nicely balanced. Lemon, white flowers and crushed rocks all jump from the glass in a bright, perfumed Chardonnay built on energy. The 2013 was done mostly in steel, which keeps the flavors and acidity lively. CrossBarn is Paul Hobbs' sister label of entry-level wines made mostly from purchased fruit. These three new releases from winemaker Greg Urmini and his team deliver notable quality and value. (Antonio Galloni)" (1/2015)90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Nearly 12,400 cases were made of the 2013 Chardonnay Cross ...Read More »
True Myth is part of the Niven Family Wine Estates, which includes Baileyana, Tangent and Cadre, among others. This is a full-bodied, oaky and tropical style Chardonnay from the Paragon Vineyard in the Edna Valley. It is fermented in 65% French oak and 35% stainless and aged in 2=38% new French oak.
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.
Wine Enthusiast: "This Chard bowls it right down the middle of today’s popular taste, offering ripe tangerine, apricot and mango flavors, enriched with plenty of caramelized oak." (4/2014) Wine Spectator: "Offers delicate white peach and honeydew melon notes. Clean and refreshing, if slightly simple in the end. Drink now." (5/2014) K&L Notes: Sonoma-Cutrer's Sonoma Coast bottling combines fruit grown across this broad appellation for a balanced and complete Chardonnay. Predominantly sourced from the Vine Hill, Cutrer, Owsley and Shiloh vineyards, about 90% of the juice completed malolactic fermentation ... 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 2012 Katherine's Vineyard Chardonnay has subtle tropical and citrus aromas with pineapple, stone fruit and apple flavors. Oak and vanilla balance out the flavors on the palate. Nicely balanced with weight on the mid-palate leading into ... Read More »