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2016 Peake Ranch Santa Barbara Country Chardonnay

SKU #1392707 94 points Jeb Dunnuck

 Aged 18 months in 78% new French oak, the entry level 2016 Chardonnay Santa Barbara County is a winner. Sourced from throughout the Santa Barbara County and aged 18 months in 78% new barrels, it offers a big bouquet of tropical fruits, pineapple, apple blossom, white flowers, and hints of spice. It's pure, silky and elegant on the palate, with nicely integrated acidity as well as big finish. It's well worth seeking out, and while it’s the entry level cuvée of the estate, it’s a match for just about every other Chardonnay out there.  (10/2018)

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're currently in the throes of building 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 (and Sideways fame, of course). The future looks bright for Peake Ranch, but, in the here and now, they've got some fantastic wines on the roster.


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Price: $39.99

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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.