2014 Alma Rosa Santa Barbara County Chardonnay

SKU #1241849 92 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Editors' Choice* This bottling by pioneer Richard Sanford is much more widely available, affordable and stylistically accessible right now than the single vineyard option. It’s delicate on the nose with bright lime spritz, Meyer lemon pith, crushed lemon verbena and a grippy brie cheese rind component, then proves tangy on the nuanced palate, with lemongrass and pomelo skin meshing into nectarine and apple flesh.  (7/2016)

K&L Notes

For years the Sanford winery produced amazing, intense, under-priced wines from the Central Coast. Richard Sanford, the former owner of the winery, was and still is very much a pioneer of the region and his mark is still seen on some of the best wines from the area. Selling Sanford a few years back, Richard had a vision of something smaller, more manageable and more rooted in the vineyards, exactly the things that made Sanford so great for so many years. Alma Rosa is that project. The idea here is to have complete dedication to sustainable and organic agriculture; already they have over 100 acres of organic vineyards in the Santa Rita Hills. (Bryan Brick, K&L)

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By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/31/2016 | Send Email
For years the Sanford winery produced amazing, intense, under-priced wines from the Central Coast. Richard Sanford, the former owner of the winery, was and still is very much a pioneer of the region and his mark is still seen on some of the best wines from the area. Selling Sanford a few years back, Richard had a vision of something smaller, more manageable and more rooted in the vineyards, exactly the things that made Sanford so great for so many years. Alma Rosa is that project. The idea here is to have complete dedication to sustainable and organic agriculture; already they have over 100 acres of organic vineyards in the Santa Rita Hills. The 2014 Chardonnay is a Petite Chablis knock- off in my mind. Racy and full of wet stone and apple skin on the nose with a nice golden hued fruit this wine charms with subtlety rather than power. On the palate the honeyed fruit kicks in with white pineapple, a core of Golden Delicious apples and underlying notes of chalk and marzipan. Aged in stainless steel this is certainly brisk but picks up some leesy weight at it rolls to the rounded out finish of lemon curd, rolled oats and hints of jasmine. Certainly a wine for fans of more European-styled Chards yet at $15.99 this comes in way less expensive than many of those wines.

By: Gary Norton | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/31/2016 | Send Email
Made from fruit from three vineyard sites located in Santa Barbara, the '14 Alma Rosa Chardonnay is bright and racy. Green pineapple, lemon curd, orange blossom and white peach come together to form a punchy, acid-driven chardonnay that drinks well above it's $15 price point. Completely balanced and dare I say, Burgundian in style? Long and short, this stuff should make an appearance at your next swim party this summer!

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 Santa Ynez 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 (%): 13.9