2014 Gainey "Estate" Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay (Elsewhere $22)

SKU #1303139 92 points Vinous

 The 2014 Chardonnay is very pretty, supple and nuanced. Apricot, orange blossom, mint, butter and sweet spices flesh out. Supple, forward and tasty, the 2014 is a solid choice for drinking over the next few years. The 2014 finishes with lovely brightness and intensity. This is very nicely done. Gainey makes as many as twenty different wines in each vintage, many of them sold directly at the winery. These four offerings represent the core of the estate's production. Once again, I was quite impressed with what I tasted. The wines are made in an unfussy, middle of the road style that is sure to appeal to a broad audience. (AG)  (6/2016)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2014 Chardonnay Estate offers up lots of juicy peach and citrus in a plump, medium-bodied, fruit-forward, easy drinking style. Drink it over the coming couple of years.  (8/2016)

Wine Enthusiast

 This Chardonnay is one of the family-owned winery's workhorse bottlings, and it pulls its weight with finesse, showing light aromas of Pink Lady apple, grapefruit peel and almond on the nose. Lemon-lime acidity frames each sip, while grapefruit flavors meld with lemongrass and kaffir lime, finishing on riper stone fruit notes.  (4/2017)

K&L Notes

As one of the pioneer's of winemaking in the Santa Ynez Valley the Gainey's have made many great wines over the last 4 decades. The problem is that they are still a little known name in the wine conversation and that is a shame because they have made a ton of great wines over the years and were practicing sustainability and organic farming way before those things became buzz words in the business. Owning over 1500 acres in the area they have numerous, non-contiguous, estate vineyards and also farm fruit, vegetables, cattle, horses and hay. We think this true farming operation will certainly grab your attention with their current releases which not only are truly delicious but are a tremendous value as well. (Bryan Brick, K&L)

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Staff Image By: Jim Barr | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/30/2017 | Send Email
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I believe one of the very few aspects of this wine business that still captivates me is that there are a handful of domestic producers that make exceptional wine each year, but, for whatever reason, never seem to promote themselves via the national/international wine critics who give high ratings and rankings. You see this with Navarro Vineyards in the Anderson Valley, Dehlinger in the Russian River Valley, Fort Ross in the Sonoma Coast region, and Gainey Vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills area of the Central Coast. The Gaineys have been making excellent varietals, particularly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, for over forty years and yet very little press is released about their wines. This lovely Chardonnay is an excellent example of what I am asserting here. Distinctive aromas of cinnamon apple to tropical fruit abound in the nose that is underscored by a pronounced vanillan, creamy note. Rich in the mouth, yet not overdone, this Gem is well-structured, lush, yet balanced and offers a pure Central Coast spiced Chardonnay presentation. The Bean has demanded that I bring home at least a case of this Chardonnay Gem for our enjoyment over the next several years. A FANTASTIC VALUE!!! ***** 13.9% ABV *****
Drink from 2016 to 2020

Staff Image By: Stephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/20/2017 | Send Email
Gainey is a family owned and run winery that had their first vines planted back in 1984. This wine is 100% Chardonnay with all estate fruit - 61% from Gainey's Rancho Esperanza and 39% from Gainey's Evan's Ranch. What I love most about this Chardonnay is its combination of bright acidity and roundness on the palate without being overly rich. Stone fruits and citrus flavors dominate with subtle oak character and a clean refreshing finish. It's price point is also a huge bonus!

Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/19/2017 | Send Email
The 2014 Gainey Santa Rta. Hills Chardonnay may be the perfect summer bottle. Brisk, refreshing and thirst quenching this wine is shockingly good for its price tag. Whether you are BBQ’ing, poolside or just relaxing wherever you like to chill out this Chard will be friendly and help you get to where you want to be. Aromas of nectarine and apricot add richness to the lively nose that also shows notes of citrus and subtle oak. Picking up some pectic weight on entry this rolls along with fleshy fruit flavors dominating the intense, rounded palate. Think grilled peaches, kumquat, Bosq pear flesh and a hint of bergamot backed by a complex interwoven green tea and earthen spice. This is a fastball right down the middle of the Chardonnay plate, crushable!

Staff Image By: Joe Bruno | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/18/2017 | Send Email
Aromatic nose consisting of bright citrus, ripe orchard fruit, and upfront oak notes (baking spices especially). White peach, lemon & lime, golden apple, and crisp minerality dominate on the palate. Mouthfeel is rich and creamy, but noted with an elevated acidity that leaves a refreshing finish on the palate. Drink over the next 2-3 years. One of our best values in domestic chardonnay for under $20!

Staff Image By: Anthony Russo | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/6/2017 | Send Email
Outstanding value California Chard for 17.99! Bright fruited and acidic, this bottling also delivers on well-integrated oak to satisfy the craving. Multi-dimensional and fun, this is a great quality wine for the budget.

Staff Image By: Mari Keilman | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 6/6/2017 | Send Email
I often find in that budget-friendly, $20-and-under price range for a Cali Chardonnay, you either get a monstrous oak bomb full of wood chips that leave splinters in your mouth or you end up drinking a super steely, metallic acid bomb that strips the enamel off your teeth. That is why I love this Gainey Chardonnay. It is surprisingly refreshing and clean for a medium-to-full-bodied Chardonnay. It also has an elegant and integrated toasted, creme brulée oakiness that nicely balances the lifted white peach, ripe apple and soft Meyer lemon flavors on the palate.

Staff Image By: Christina Stanley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/21/2017 | Send Email
The Gainey Estate vineyards are located just ten miles East of the Pacific Ocean, and this Chardonnay is a blend of two of those vineyards: Rancho Esperanza and Evan's Ranch. These two vineyards produce fruit of differing characteristics, and the result is a harmonious combination of fruit, acid and minerality. Notes of bright ripe pineapple, meyer lemon and white peach dance on the medium bodied palate, and a trail of saline minerality creates a lasting finish.

Staff Image By: Anthony Gittings | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/5/2017 | Send Email
After recently trying this at a staff tasting, I felt compelled to share my thoughts on this outstanding Chardonnay. On the nose, rich vanilla bean and freshly cut lumber first welcome you. The palate is full of asian pear, light lemon, and fresh acid. A lighter bodied Chardonnay that has some nice minerality and a long beautiful finish. This is a lot of wine for less than twenty dollars, incredible value!

Additional Information:



- 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 (%): 13.9