2011 Cambria "Bench Break" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
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.
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.
**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.
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.