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K&L Staff Recommendations
93 points Wine Spectator: "A creamy-textured, charming style that’s easy to drink yet is deceptively complex and layered, with a mix of vanilla-scented oak and vibrant peach, nectarine, honeydew and apricot flavors. Long on the finish. Drink now." (5/2015) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The attractive, sexy 2013 Chardonnay reveals ripe fruit, tangerine oil and citrus blossom notes, medium body, a fresh style, and a delicate hint of wood. Drink it over the next 2-3 years. It is a sleeper selection. (RP)" (10/2014) K&L Notes: It's back! True, Rombauer's Chardonnay needs to take its own sweet time, fattening up for 10 months in ... 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.
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 »
New Price - A Steal! A rich, but not over-the-top Chardonnay from a prominent Napa Valley winery who has also made wine under our Kalinda label. Creamy and toasty with a fine core of acidity makes for easy drinking. For those who like a full but not too full-bodied Chardonnay. (Clyde Beffa Jr., K&L Wine Merchants Co-Owner)
93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The Chardonnay Private Reserve became famous under the helmsmanship of chief winemaker Ed Sbragia, and Laurie Hook has refined it ever so slightly by somewhat backing off the oak, and maintaining the depth and richness, but with more precision and refinement. The full-bodied 2012 Chardonnay Private Reserve exhibits wonderful orange blossom, white peach and pineapple fruit, a subtle touch of vanillin and toast, and a nicely layered, pure style with terrific fruit intensity. It is a great value, especially if you compare its quality to just about any premi ...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 »
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.
95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Slightly better is the 2012 Chardonnay North Slope, which comes from California clones 95 and 76. Made from much smaller yields than the Cahill Lane, it sees about 40% new French oak, and reveals terrific fruit intensity along with a full-bodied mouthfeel, a good underlying wet gravel-like character, and loads of peach, pineapple and honeysuckle notes. The wine exhibits a light green hue to its color (which I always consider a positive). It can be drunk over the next 5-7 years." (12/2013)92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Pale gold. Intense aromas of nectarine, pineapple and orange zest, w ...Read More »
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.
90 points Wine Spectator: "Polished, creamy and refreshingly balanced, with tobacco-accented pineapple and coconut flavors that come together smoothly and linger well. Drink now through 2016." (12/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "*Best Buy* Screwcapped, fresh and racy, this seemingly all-stainless Chardonnay is a total lemon fest. Ripe and flavorful--not sour--it brings scents and tastes of lemon oil, lemon peel and lemon meringue into play. It’s medium-bodied, forward and generous." (12/2014) K&L Notes: Charles & Charles is a collaboration between Charles Smith (of his namesake winery and K Vintners) and Charles Bieler. ... 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."
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.
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 Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Chardonnay (Son ...Read More »
91 points Wine Enthusiast: "*#31 in the Top 100 Best Buys of 2014* Half barrel-fermented and half done in stainless steel, this classy effort seems to overdeliver. It starts with good fruit, but the feeling is that winemaker Jessica Munnell did everything right, and maxxed out the complexity. It’s a sensuous mix of grape and barrel, steel and butterscotch, with a lively, lingering finish." (11/2014) K&L Notes: A very warm 2013 growing season with dry harvest conditions made for a very successful Chardonnay from Mercer Canyons. Grapes were sourced from Sagemoor Vineyard in the Columbia Valley an... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "The nose on this wine from nine vineyards ranging from Santa Clara to Santa Barbara reflects much of what the large appellation offers, but in subtle ways: touches of Golden Delicious apples, grilled pineapple, toasted coconut and chalk. The flavors surround a Meyer lemon zest tension, with apple flesh fruits and a zesty acidity that holds throughout without biting." (3/2015)90 points Antonio Galloni: "Calera's 2013 Chardonnay (Central Coast) is absolutely stunning in this vintage. Peach, apricot, wild flowers, honey and spices all meld together in a supple, generous Chardonnay that ...Read More »
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."
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 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 »
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 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 »
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!"
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 »
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 »
Antonio Galloni: "The 2013 Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast) is gorgeous. Apricots, honey, mint, orange blossom and wild flowers are all laced together in the glass in a racy, perfumed Chardonnay to drink over the next handful of years. Simply put, this is a fabulous wine for the money. The 2013 was done 90% in oak and 10% in steel. (AG)" (1/2015)
MacRostie's Sonoma Coast bottling is definitely a top choice for an under-$20 California Chardonnay. Grapes were sourced from several select Sonoma Coast vineyards including the "A-list" Sangiacomo Vineyard, vineyards belonging to the Dutton and Martinelli estates, and MacRostie's own estate properties. The beatifully ripe and pristine fruit was whole-cluster pressed into 20% new French oak for fermentation where it aged for an additional 6 months. A few lots were fermented in stainless steel to retain some special emphasis on aromatic fruit characterist... Read More »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The least expensive white is the 2012 Chardonnay Overlook, a cross-California blend of fruit with 83% from Sonoma, 11% from Monterey and 6% from Santa Barbara. A consistently delicious effort, the 2012 maintains beautiful tropical fruit and honeysuckle notes as well as a pure, front end-loaded, fruit-driven style. With good acidity, beautiful cleanliness and little oak, this exuberant, classic California Chardonnay can be drunk over the next several years. It is an amazing value!" (12/2014)90 points Wine & Spirits: "This wine’s 'California' appellation masks the fact that it’s actu ...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 »
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)
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 »
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 »
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!
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 »
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The amazing 2012 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast possesses lots of tropical fruit, honeysuckle, pineapple and tangerine notes. Half went through malolactic and the other half was blocked. With lots of minerality as well as a Chablis-like character, it is a major sleeper of the vintage. This beauty should drink well for 1-2 years. (RP)" (12/2013) Antonio Galloni: "The 2012 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast is beautiful. All the elements fall into place nicely in a Chardonnay that is bright and crisp, but with good depth in its fruit and no hard edges. Lemon oil, pear and pastry notes meld int ...Read More »
93 points Wine Spectator: "Pure and focused, with a vivid core of white peach, nectarine and tangerine flavors. Tangy acidity gives this a chalky, minerally edge and a long, persistent and captivating finish. Drink now through 2022.— J.L." Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: ""If the Kistler Winery could be magically transported to the middle of Burgundy’s Côte d’Or, it would quickly gain a reputation as glorious as any producer of Burgundy grand crus." — Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate" K&L Notes: Raved about by the winery, Kistler's 2013 "Sonoma Mountain" Chardonnay "shows great finess with a bit more... Read More »
92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2012 Chardonnay Russian River (4,360 cases) was aged on its lees in one-third new French oak for 11 months and underwent full malolactic fermentation. A six-vineyard blend, it is composed primarily of the Old Wente clone as well as Mt. Eden and a handful of others. Nearly 50% comes from the Dutton Vineyard and the rest from the Heintz, DuMOL Estate, Lorenzo, Ritchie and a few others. Like most of the DuMOL Chardonnays, it reveals a greenish hue to its color as well as attractive aromas of orange blossom, delicate pineapple, wet pebbles and fresh acid ...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 »
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 »
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.
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 »
Inventory: Main Warehouse
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 »
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 »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Chardonnay reveals a more projected, intense bouquet of citrus oil and spice, medium body, good fruit and a restrained use of oak. (RP)" (10/2014) K&L Notes: Named 2012 Winery by the Year from the Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine! The new Chardonnay release from Frank Family is sourced from the Carneros, in the southern Napa Valley, and displays its signature volume and length, with ripe peachy and tropical citrus fruit aromas and flavors, a lush and creamy mid-palate, and layers of toasty oak spice.
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 »
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.
Inventory: San Francisco
Lloyd Chardonnay is an unabashed California Chard. The grapes come from two Sangiacomo Vineyards, Home Ranch and Green Acres in the Carneros region, and new this year, a small amount of Truchard Vineyard fruit has been included. Picked at their peak of ripeness, the grapes are gently pressed, settled, and moved to barrels to be cold fermented. The room is kept at a very low temperature keeping the wine from fermenting too rapidly and thus losing its aromatics. The wine slowly undergoes primary and secondary fermentation for nine months before being racke... Read More »
Inventory: Main Warehouse