2011 Cambria "Bench Break" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay

SKU #1140022 93 points Antonio Galloni

 Smoke, crushed rocks, apricots and dried pears are some of the many notes that jump out from the glass in the 2011 Chardonnay Bench Break. A layered, textured Chardonnay, the 2011 blossoms on the palate with tons of depth. Even with all of its richness, the 2011 remains light on its feet and a model of pure grace. There is so much to like here, including the exceedingly fair price.  (7/ 2013)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Even richer, with gorgeously ripe apple tart, toasted hazelnut, brioche and white flower-like aromas and flavors, the 2011 Chardonnay Bench Break is full-bodied, richly texture and fresh on the palate, with a layered, multi-dimensional feel. It’s a classy Chardonnay meant for drinking over the coming 2-3 years. Drink now-2016.  (8/ 2013)

91 points Wine Enthusiast

 **Editors' Choice** This Chard competes well with others that are considerably more expensive. The palate exhibits the cool growing conditions of the vintage with tart acidity that brightens flavors of tropical fruit and orange. Notes of oak and lees lend (complexity) to this delicious wine.  (2/ 2014)

K&L Notes

Cambria prides themselves on being an "estate" winery, which means that they grow every grape themselves and control the winemaking process from cultivation all the way through vinification and bottling. This has resulted in a well-informed understanding of their terroir on the Santa Maria Bench and how to coax the best possible expression of the vineyards. The Bench Break Vineyard sits on the highest point of these estate vineyards, situated on shallow soils of eroded shale and quartz. The results are naturally restricted yields with small, intensely flavored Chardonnay grapes. The long, cool growing season in 2011 was actually nothing unusual for this site. With rich flavors and a bright disposition, it would appear that 2011 was right in this vineyard's comfort zone.

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Price: $23.99

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By: Alex Pross |  K&L Staff Member  |  Review Date: 10/14/2013  | Send Email
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A step up from the Katherine’s Vineyard Chardonnay in both stature and price is the 2011 Cambria “ Bench Break Vineyard” Santa Maria valley Chardonnay. This wine sings from the glass with aromas of lemon oil, graham cracker and hazelnut aromas with a rich palate full of baked apple, nut skin, tropical fruits and vanilla. This wine feels like a Corton Charlemagne with its rich palate, viscous mouth feel, depth and power. A fabulous value this is a great California chardonnay that won’t break the bank.
Drink from 2013 to 2018

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Chardonnay

- It's hard to believe that up until about 30 years ago, this extremely popular varietal hid behind the veil of geographical names like Chablis and Puligny-Montrachet. Now grown all over the world and bottled by its varietal name, Chardonnay has achieved a level of branding unlike any other wine. Surprisingly, though, what you get when you buy Chardonnay can differ greatly from country to country and even within one country, depending on the climate where it's grown and how it is vinified and aged. From fresh, crisp and minerally with apple and lemon notes to rich and buttery with tropical fruit overtones, Chardonnay runs the gamut. In France's Burgundy, Chardonnay is the source of the prized wines of Chablis, Corton-Charlemagne, Mâcon, Meursault and Montrachet. It also the foundation of exceptional Champagne, where it is blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or vinified on its own into Blanc de Blancs. It is also extremely popular in California, and is gaining popularity in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and South Africa.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Maria/Santa Barbara

- Santa Maria and Sants Inez make up the two AVAs of Santa Barbara County, an area known for its natural beauty and temperate climate. The best grape-growing areas, however, are located on the very coastal reaches of these two appellations, and are cooled by ever-present fog and ocean breezes (it is even cooler and foggier here than Carneros!). As expected, chardonnay and pinot noir thrive while the more inland zones lay claim to Bordeaux varietals and some Rhône blends.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.5