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95-Point, Best-Selling Chardonnay at a Stellar Price - 01/11/2018 - Italy

Consistently among the best Chardonnay’s out of Italy, the 95 point, 2015 "Cervaro della Sala" from Antinori is a monumental effort that way over performs its modest $44.99 price. It’s easy to see why it is our best-selling Chardonnay out of Italy. On par with a top Premier Cru Burgundy, it is a classy number from start to finish. Antinori is among the oldest and most respected estates in Italy, so it should come as little surprise that the 2015 “Cervaro” turned out as well as it did. Coming from a vintage with near perfect conditions, the wine is round and fleshy, but also has a driven mineral component adding a degree of seriousness to what is otherwise a fun and playful delivery. Combining both tropical and orchard fruits, it will appeal to both Cali Chard drinkers and Burgundy aficionados alike. Expansive and robust, it has the scaffolding to develop for another five to ten years easily; making it a great candidate to cellar a few bottles or more. If you are stuck in a Chardonnay rut, this Italian version is the perfect remedy.

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2015 Antinori "Cervaro della Sala" Chardonnay Umbria ($44.99)

95 points James Suckling: "Intense aromas of crushed lime and lemon as well as mineral and flint follow through to a medium body, ultra-precise acid and fruit balance. Long and linear finish. Just a hint of vanilla and cream. Give it a year or two to develop in the bottle but already a beauty." (02/2017)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "This is a beautiful wine that consistently outperforms vintage variation. In other words, it maintains very high quality despite the many troubles Mother Nature can throw its way. This was an easy vintage with a hot summer and plumper, richer aromas as a result. The 2015 Cervaro della Sala is robust and exuberant with bold fruit flavors and soft renderings of roasted almond, Umbrian saffron and spice. I loved the cooler and more delicate 2014 vintage, but I also adore this more powerful version from 2015." (12/2017)

91 points Wine Spectator: "Aromatic with lime blossom, white peach and spice notes, this creamy, medium-bodied white layers rich flavors of melon, Meyer lemon zest and toast with a minerally underpinning and firm, finely knit acidity. Long, lasting finish. Chardonnay with Grechetto. Drink now through 2025. 2,200 cases imported. (AN)" (08/2017)

Staff ImageSharon Kelly | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 10, 2018

This is a great wine for fans of that "typical" California Chardonnay profile: rich, textured, plenty of fruit and oak that makes its presence known but is well integrated. The majority of white wine shoppers that I encounter don't think about Italy when it comes to Chardonnay but I am happy to introduce them to similar styles from a region they wouldn't normally consider.

Staff ImageAnthony Russo | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 09, 2018

Have that friend that claims they hate Chardonnay? Pour them a glass of this and watch the conversion happen before your eyes! Absolutely gorgeous crisp and floral bouquet hides its varietal on the nose. On the palate, the wine is round and very texturous with juicy weight. The alcohol level is perfectly balanced, making this bottle super versatile. From post-work, to dinner, to the night cap, this is an awesome bottle of Italian white than can do it all.

Staff ImageJohn Downing | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 08, 2018

I've long admired the Antinori family's commitment to the preservation of a fair number of significant estates in different locales within Italy. They purchased this particular property, Castello della Sala, in 1940, which is not only beautifully restored but also houses a world class winery and vineyards. Their Cervaro, having been produced since 1985, is a clear reflection of their desire to make a great white Umbrian wine and of their vision of what that should be. This unique blend of Chardonnay and Grechetto has developed a huge following and the 2015 is a stunner. Cervaro weds a richly textured and flavored-packed international style palate with underlying old world terrior, bright acidity and a pleasant kiss of oak on the finish. Although delicious now, it will certainly broaden with time in the cellar.

Staff ImageGreg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 07, 2018

The nose of this wine jumps out of the glass, a wave of nutmeg, butterscotch and vanilla on top with baked apple underneath, at first its reminiscent of a Napa Chardonnay but the difference lies on the palate. The wine comes alive on your tongue, vibrant acidity lifts the center and extends the richness it is also freshened by the use of 10% Grechetto a local indigenous variety that gives a bit more fruit. While having all the trappings of richness this wine still has an energetic drive, a real zip that makes it an excellent food match. A complex long lasting finish that is a mixture of texture, crispness and spiced fruit goes on and on.

Staff ImageRachel Vogel | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 06, 2018

As I lifted the glass to my nose, the smell of dry white minerality, sweet Meyer lemon and hints of toasted oak send my mind to high-end white Burgundy. It is an elegant, balanced, and nuanced Chardonnay that blows any competition out of the water. A gentle acidity keeps the wine long on the palate while the rich texture allows it linger on your tongue. While I am certainly enjoying the wine on its own, a food pairing of salmon, halibut or even a garlic roasted chicken sounds unbelievably delightful!

Staff ImageLilia McIntosh | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 06, 2018

Love, love this wine! Bright and brisk, full-bodied but with incredibly clean mineral profile and impeccable freshness. To me this wine is on the same level as 1er Cru Chassagne-Montrachet. If I'd taste it blind I'd say it's Burgundy, because of its precise balance, wonderful acidity and overall pure flavor. Finish is long and lingers on and on.

Staff ImageMike Parres | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 04, 2018

Burgundy From Umbria? Currently one of the best white wines of Italy, this offers complex aromas of cream, toasted oak, and is full-bodied, very rich, with loads of fruit enhanced by hints of wood and lots of minerality. Incredible length on the finish.