2015 Peake Ranch Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay (Previously $40)

SKU #1348512 94 points Jeb Dunnuck

 The first vintage for this cuvée it was created with the idea to improve the quality of the single vineyard. The 2015 Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley is a stunning value that offers classic buttered stone fruits, toasted nuts and honeysuckle in a rich, texture, balanced style. It way over delivers at the price and is a terrific wine. It’s one of the larger production releases as well (536 cases), so hopefully you can find a few bottles.  (8/2017)

K&L Notes

Peake Ranch Winery is only a few vintages in, but already they're on to something: sexy, expressive Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, and a soupçon of Grenache from excellent vineyard sites in the Sta. Rita Hills and Santa Maria Valley. Owner John Wagner is a physicist-turned-hedge-fund-manager-turned-winemaker, who developed a passion for the grape when he bought Sierra Madre vineyard and got "sucked in," as he puts it. He's brought talented folks on board-an exciting young winemaker named Wynne Solomon who cut her teeth at Melville; Michael Anderson, a veteran viticulturalist; and somm/winemaker Paul Lato. They recently opened a state-of-the-art winery and tasting room at the old Richard Sanford property, being careful to preserve the historic spaces that harken back to the founding of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA. This property rather quickly went from a winery-to-watch to one of the benchmark producers in the area.


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Product Reviews:

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By: Thomas Smith | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/3/2019 | Send Email
The nose on this is just beautiful. Soft, creamy tones. Touches of spice. The fruit on the palate is absolutely penetrating. Lemon curd and zest above touches of marzipan with a texture that is somehow weighted and serious, but lively acidity keeps it light on its feet.

By: Sharon Kelly | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/31/2019 | Send Email
Peake Ranch is a relatively new operation with just a few vintages under its belt. Winemaker Paul Lato was brought on board to kick off the project, setting the tone for what is quickly becoming a sought after brand. This Chardonnay is Lato through and through; well-balanced, richly textured, plenty of ripe stone fruit, yellow apple and white flower aromas and vibrant acid with a palate that is very clean and precise. All of the elements in this wine have unfolded beautifully so far and I recommend purchasing a few extra to store for a few years - this is only just beginning to hit its stride. Fabulous stuff. (Be sure to visit Peake Ranch's gorgeous new tasting room on Santa Rosa Road)

By: Greg St. Clair | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/27/2019 | Send Email
The nose of this wine greets you with a big, toasty, brioche filled aromatic that harkens back to a more distant era. On the palate the wine has a medium plus body that just exudes creaminess, supple, soft, smooth carrying on that toasted brioche flavor. The finish shows some lift and balance in the end for a broad, smooth ending.

By: Kaj Stromer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/21/2019 | Send Email
Over the last two years we’ve paid serious attention to Peake Ranch, one of our favorite emerging wineries in the Sta. Rita Hills. Several recon missions to the winery confirmed our earlier suspicions; this is one serious property. Thanks to the strength of our relationship, we were able to secure the last 20 cases of their inaugural release Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay direct from the cellar. This wine turned heads upon release but has now really reached a special place. I took a bottle home over the weekend and savored it over 3 days. I was particularly impressed how well the wine had integrated. The additional time in bottle has resulted in a wine that melds the best of what these cool climate vineyards can produce when placed in the hands of incredibly talented winemaker Paul Lato. Full-bodied, rich and layered, it should drink well for several years to come. This Chardonnay should be front and center at your next dinner party.

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.
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.
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.