Chateau Ste. Michelle ('12 Columbia Valley, WA)
$13 / 39
My goal with the Columbia Valley Chardonnay is to make a pleasurable, food-friendly Chardonnay. This is a fresh, soft style of Chardonnay with bright apple and sweet citrus fruit character and subtle spice and oak nuances. We blend Chardonnay grapes from vineyards all over Washington's Columbia Valley to make this a complex, interesting wine. The sur lie aging gives it an appealing softness.
About the Winery
Founded in 1934, Chateau Ste. Michelle is the oldest winery in Washington with some of the most mature vineyards in the Columbia Valley. The winery combines Old World winemaking with New World innovation and is best known for its award-winning Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Chateau Ste. Michelle receives some of the highest accolades in the industry, including "American Winery of the Year" by Wine Enthusiast for 2004 and "2005 Winery of the Year" by Restaurant Wine. In addition, the winery's Eroica Riesling, crafted from a partnership with German winemaker Ernst Loosen, has been named to Wine Spectator's prestigious "Top 100" wines list for five consecutive years.
Chateau Ste. Michelle is one of the few premium wineries in the world with two state-of-the-art wineries, one devoted to whites and another to reds. This dedicated approach to winemaking allows winemaker Bob Bertheau to build winemaking programs to the unique specifications of red and white wines. While all of Chateau Ste. Michelle's vineyards are located on the east side of the Cascade Mountains where the climate is dry and sunny, Bob Bertheau makes the award winning white wines in Woodinville, 15 miles northeast of Seattle. The winery's expansive, 87-acre estate hosts more than 250,000 visitors annually for tours, tastings, dinners and outdoor summer concerts.
Chamisal "Unoaked" ('13 Central Coast, CA)
$14 / 42
Sonoma-Cutrer ('12 Sonoma Coast, CA)
Sandhi ('12 Santa Barbara, CA)
$24 / 72
Hanzell Vineyards "Sebella" ('12 Sonoma Valley, CA)
$25 / 75
Paul Dolan "Organically Grown" ('11 Mendocino, CA)
Mer Soliel "Silver" ('12 Central Coast, CA)
Santa Lucia Highlands
(Monterey County, Central California)
Mer Soleil "Reserve" ('12 Santa Lucia Highlands, CA)
Santa Lucia Highlands
(Monterey County, Central California)
UNITY by Fisher Vineyards ('13 CA)
Rombauer ('13 Carneros, CA)
Juicy peaches, pineapple and citrus greet the nose, followed by vanilla and toasty oak. Ripe tropical fruit, pear and apple flood the lush, silky palate. Soft spice, vanilla and nectarines mark the lengthy finish, and fresh, mouthwatering acidity leaves you longing for another
The fruit for this wine comes from vineyards in the Carneros region owned by the Rombauer family and select growers including the Sangiacomo family, long-term grower partners who have farmed this land for three generations.
The grapes were gently whole-cluster pressed while the fruit was still cool. The juice was pumped to tank to cold-settle overnight before it was racked to barrel for primary and malolactic fermentation. The lees were stirred every two weeks to give the wine rich flavors and a creamy texture.
Jordan ('12 Russian River, CA)
Antica ('12 Napa, CA)
ZD ('12 CA)
Yet another near-ideal growing season provided Napa Valley with an excellent 2013 harvest to mark ZD's 45th vintage. An ample number of warm days and cool nights allowed for very slow ripening and optimal flavor development. Bright forward aromas of guava and tropical fruit are complemented by subtle hints of orange blossom and sweet vanilla. The palate is full bodied and lush with notes of pineapple, mandarin and lemon rind that integrate wonderfully with natural acidity and subtle oak.
WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT THIS WINE?
ZD's California Chardonnay blends fruit from the Napa Carneros, as well as Sonoma, Monterey and Santa Barbara Counties, to create a wine that's like bottled sunshine. Winemaker Chris Pisani suppresses malolactic fermentation and ages the juice in American oak barrels for 10 months, creating a tropical, full-bodied Chardonnay with toasty accents and fresh acidity.
ZD Chardonnay is set apart from most Chardonnay in the marketplace because of its distinctive style, the quality of its production, and the consistency with which it is produced. Its style is based on four elements, and each element makes an important contribution to the overall production of the final wine.
First, ZD's style is to blend Chardonnay grapes that are specially selected from California's cool, coastal growing regions. This blending process builds complexity in the wine and maintains consistency with every vintage. Second, ZD barrel ferments and ages its Chardonnay in American oak barrels. American oak offers subtle nuances that make ZD wines distinguishable and flavorful.
ZD Chardonnay undergoes a long, cool fermentation. This process extends yeast contact, which contributes to the wines having a creamy texture similar to wines aged sur lees. Finally, ZD Chardonnay undergoes no malo-lactic fermentation. This is purposely controlled to preserve the varietal character and natural acidity of the wine. As a result, ZD Chardonnay ages more gracefully and is a great complement to food.
A REVIEWER SCHPIEL
92 PTS WILFRED WONG: These guys have it down, the '12 ZD Chardonnay is brilliant; loads of ripe fruit in the foreground; hints of wood in the background; lovely apple, guava and tangerine flavors.
THE WINERY WEBSITE LINK
Cakebread ('12 Napa, CA)
Flowers ('12 Sonoma Coast, CA)
Pahlmeyer "Jayson" ('12 North Coast, CA)
Paul Hobbs ('12 Russian River, CA)
Chatueau Montelena ('12 Napa, CA)
Darioush ('12 Napa, CA)
Sonoma Cuterer "Les Pierres" ('11 Sonoma Coast, CA)
Nickel & Nickel "Stiling Vineyard" ('12 Russian River, CA)
Shafer "Red Shoulder Ranch" ('12 Napa Valley, CA)
Kistler "Les Noisetiers" ('12 Sonoma Coast, CA)
Wonderful nose, of mango, vanilla, clove and tropical fruit. Nice flavors of pineapple, mango, creme brulee and a splash of citrus fruit on the long finish. Has a nice acidity to it as well. Straight up California.
About Kistler Vineyards
Steve Kistler's rich, Burgundy-style Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, from a series of ideally situated vineyards all around Sonoma County, have long been favorites among collectors and restaurant clients. The best bottlings have proven to be excellent mid-term agers and are among the richest and most complex Chardonnays made anywhere—the key is low-tech, hands-off winemaking that makes the most of the particular vineyard site plus what each vintage has to offer.
Alpha Omega ('11 Napa, CA)
Far Niente ('12 Napa, CA)
ZD Reserve ('12 Carneros, CA)
Peter Michael "Ma Belle Fille" ('12 Knight's Valley, CA)