2015 Cambria "Benchbreak" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay (Previously $19)

SKU #1291786 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2015 Chardonnay Bench Break offers up notes of ripe apricots, honeydew melon and grapefruit with touches of brioche and toasted almonds. Medium-bodied, it has a pleasantly creamy texture with tons of stone fruit and citrus flavors, finishing long. Awesome value! (LPB)  (9/2017)

Jeb Dunnuck

 Showing plenty of reductive qualities on the nose, the 2015 Chardonnay Benchbreak is fruit forward, nicely textured and charming on the palate, with plenty of texture. I expect it would improve with a vigorous decant.  (8/2017)


 Cambria's 2015 Chardonnay Benchbreak is an attractive wine to drink now and over the next few years. Subtle and understated, it has a lovely flintiness that plays off the pastry, lemon peel, white flower, almond and mint flavors. (AG)  (9/2017)

Wine Spectator

 Fruity, with flavors of baked apple, ripe pear and ginger that are well-balanced. Savory and buttery notes show on the finish. (KM)  (7/2017)

K&L Notes

Cambria takes pride in 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.

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Price: $14.99

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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 (%): 14.5