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K&L Staff Recommendations
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 »
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.
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.
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 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 »
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 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 »
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 »
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 »
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!"
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 »
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 »
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 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 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 »
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 »
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!
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 »
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 »
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 »
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
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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
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 »
90 points Wine & Spirits: "This wine’s initial impression of oak makes way for intense, coastal chardonnay fruit: the juicy, on-point ripeness of midsummer peaches lifted into seashell and airy chamomile tones—a big wine that maintains a buzz of energy." (10/2014) Connoisseurs Guide: "*Good Value* Here is a wine that is easy to recommend for its combination of very fresh, well-defined, green-apple fruit as well as its brightness and fine balance. It is cleansing and crisp yet sports a fair sense of depth with integral highlights of minerals and a careful touch of sweet oak, and, while moderately full-bo ...Read More »
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 »
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
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Light gold. Tightly wound citrus fruit and green apple scents show good clarity and a hint of white pepper. Taut and wiry on the palate, offering bitter lime zest and mint flavors that stretch out slowly with air. Finishes clean and dry, with firm grip and modest length." (12/2014) Wine & Spirits: "Made from an even balance of Dijon and heritage plant selections, this unoaked chardonnay is clean and direct, lasting on supple, sweet pear and white peach flavors." (2/2015)
"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.
Split Creek Farms, located in the heart of Sonoma County, partners with some the the finest vineyards in California’s wine country. Their goal is to handcraft rich, flavorful wines that honor the spirit of both the farm and farmer. These wines come to us by way of Chris Donatiello. After many years in New York on the sales marketing side of wine and spirits, and one too many frustrations about how great vineyards were being homogenized by big corporations, Chris headed west to make great wines with character. Creating a winery in the Russian River Vall... Read More »
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The attractive 2012 Chardonnay reminded me of Chardonnays from the 1970s and early 1980s. The wine was aged in French oak for eight months, but you would never know that from the aromatics and flavors. With delicate, crisp citrus, this fresh, lively, Chablis-like effort reveals a hint of minerality. Drink it over the next 2-3 years. (RP)" (10/2014) Wine Spectator: "Pure and clean, this is marked by zesty citrus, green pear and apple notes, presented in a tight formation and ending with snappy freshness. (Web-2014)" K&L Notes: The winery's tasting note: "Our 2012 Napa Valley Chardonnay... Read More »
91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Chardonnay Estate Sta. Rita Hills is a smoking effort that represent a fabulous value in Chardonnay. Made in a pure, clean style, it was barrel-fermented and aged 8 months in neutral oak. It gives up serious notes of lemon, lime peel, tinges of wild herbs and salty minerality to go with a medium-bodied, balanced and elegant profile on the palate that keeps you coming back to the glass. (JD)" (8/2014)91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar: "Bright yellow. Very fresh aromas of white peach, tangerine, gingery spices, jasmine and iodine. At once rich and lively, with bright acidity and firm ...Read More »
90 points Wine Spectator: "Delivers a tight beam of cream-laced green apple, melon, citrus and honeydew flavors, supported by firm acidity and ending with a persistent, flavorful finish. Drink now. 9,300 cases made. (web only-2015)"89 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2013 Chardonnay Estate offers up notes of white currants, peaches and orange blossoms in a medium-bodied style displaying a hint of wet rocks/minerality. The oak component is subtle, and the wine’s fruit dominates. This attractive 2013 will be flexible with an assortment of dishes over the next 4-5 years." (12/2014) Wine Enthusiast: "Spicy Asian pear dominates in this l ...Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
This is the first tier in an enchanting series of wines by Greg La Follette, aka "the yeast whisperer." La Follette has consulted around the world and made wines for some of the top names in California wine country, yet his own Sonoma County-based winery is relatively new on the scene. Working with vineyards in the new Mendocino Ridge AVA as well as with top Sonoma County growers like Van der Kamp and Sangiacomo, La Follette ferments the grapes on native yeasts and babysits delicate fermentations into the next year, if necessary--the yeast will tell him ... Read More »
Inventory: Redwood City
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 »