2011 Talley Estate Arroyo Grande Chardonnay
The 2011 Chardonnay Estate, from Briam Talley's estate's vineyards in Arroyo Grande, is supported by gorgeous veins of graphite, crushed rocks and minerals. An intriguing wine, the 2011 stands out for its mineral-drenched energy and length, while more typical varietal fruit notes lie in the background. Layers of fruit continue to build as the broad shoulders fill out in a Chardonnay endowed with tons of personality and pure class. Best of all, the 2011 Chardonnay Estate is a fabulous value. Drinking window: 2013 - 2019 I found much to admire in Brian Talley's 2011 Chardonnays and Pinots. The Chardonnays are all bright, pointed and intensely marked by the year, while the Pinots appear more defined by site. Either way, the wines are drop-dead gorgeous. Proprietor Brian Talley and his winemaker, Eric Johnson, describe 2011 as more consistent for Chardonnay than Pinot, which experienced a very poor set. Talley fans will also want to check out the entry-level Bishop's Peak wines, which are reviewed separately in this issue.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(75% of this fruit is from the Rincon vineyard and the rest from the Rosemary's vineyard; 23% new oak): Pale gold. Fresh pear and lemon curd aromas are complemented by notes of chalky minerals and gingery spices. Fresh and focused on the palate, with very good lift and cut to its zesty citrus and orchard fruit flavors. Spreads out nicely on the finish, repeating the pear note and showing very good vivacity and persistence.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Lively and leaning towards the pretty, elegant end of the spectrum, the 2011 Chardonnay Estate Arroyo Grande has plenty of ripe apple, pear, baking bread and toast as well as juicy acidity and medium-bodied richness. Nicely textured, it’s a solid effort to drink over the coming 3-4 years. Drink now-2017. These knockout efforts are made by Brian Talley and were some of the most impressive Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs I tasted during my more than two week trip through the central coast. In addition to their estate offerings, their Bishop’s Peak releases reviewed here come from purchased grapes throughout the central coast and offer good typicity and drinkability for not much buck.
Vineyard Notes: The 2011 year began with above average rainfall in Southern San Luis Obispo County. Though we were spared the late spring frost that affected other areas, fruit set was reduced by wet spring conditions and yields were about 30% below average. One of the coolest summers on record resulted in long hang time and grapes with high natural acidity. The resulting wines balance refreshing acidity with concentrated flavors due to the low yields.