2012 Chanin "Los Alamos Vineyard" Santa Barbara County Chardonnay

SKU #1162291 92 points Vinous

 Green-tinged yellow. An intensely perfumed bouquet displays scents of yellow plum, mango, jasmine and smoky minerals. Lush, gently sweet pit and tropical fruit flavors show very good concentration, with a gingery element adding vibrancy. A sexy floral quality comes up on the long, pliant finish, which leaves a bright chalky note behind. Gavin Chanin said that his initial fears that the 2012 pinots would turn out on the soft side and in need of relatively early drinking have turned out to be unfounded: "It (2012) has turned out to be a fantastic year, with more finesse than the wines showed initially and also more structure." He added that he thinks "the 2013s should be more approachable than the 2012s and will be great for restaurants and people who like extroverted fruit." Ten percent new French oak is used across across the board here. (Josh Raynolds)  (12/2014)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Giving up more spice, brioche and rising bread-like qualities, the 2012 Chardonnay Los Alamos Vineyard has a core of pear, apple and peachy-styled fruit, as well a medium-bodied richness, integrated acidity and impressive overall focus. Seeing 15 months in 15% new French oak, it has a cooler climate feel on the palate, and will drink nicely for 4-5 years.  (8/2014)

91 points Wine Spectator

 Serves up a tasty mix of citrus, green apple, pear and honeydew melon notes that are pure and lively, with a touch of citrus pithiness and a long, lingering finish. Drink now through 2020.  (10/2014)

K&L Notes

Los Alamos Vineyard is a high-elevation site for Santa Barbara County, where the terrain changes from the typical sandy soil to a mixture of shale and limestone. Winemaker Gavin Chanin has a perspective of minimalist winemaking, and the juice was barrel-fermented in 15% new French oak before spending a total of 16 months in barrel. From the winery: "This wine explodes with aromas of lemon custard, matched with an undeniable freshness and hints of pineapple and exotic fruit. On the palate, the wine opens with bright fruit flavors, evolving into a rich mid-palate. A crisp, saline finish, rounds out this expressive Chardonnay." This 2012 bottling has not yet been professionally reviewed, but the 2011 vintage garnered 93 points from Antionio Galloni, who writes: "Gavin Chanin made four of the best 2011s I tasted. The only problem is finding the wines, as production is Burgundian scale, which is to say anywhere from 2-8 barrels for each of these wines. Readers who can find a few bottles won't be disappointed, as the wines are truly magnificent. Chanin favors a pretty straightforward approach that starts in the vineyard and finishes with wines that see minimal handling in the cellar." (vinousmedia.com, 07/2013)

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- 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.

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.


- 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.
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 (%): 14.21