Meridian Santa Barbara Chardonnay (half-bottle) 2001
Chardonnay from Central Coast, California
By circulating the lees, Im adding a soft, creamy dimension to the wine. Each time the yeast cells are stirred up, the texture of the wine evolves, resulting in the silky mouthfeel Im trying to achieve. Chuck allowed 80% of the wine to go through malolactic fermentation. Excellent food pairings with Meridian Vineyards Santa Barbara County Chardonnay include poultry, fish, pork, cream sauces, and mildly spicy foods.
Established in 1988, the Meridian Vineyards winery is located halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco in the relaxed town of Paso Robles, California. The label was founded in 1984 by veteran Winemaker Chuck Ortman, who spent the early part of his career as winemaker and consultant to several prestigious Napa and Sonoma wineries. Although the first Meridian wines were made from Napa fruit, Ortman was always intrigued by the emerging Central Coast growing regions of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, where vineyards in cool climates were yielding Chardonnay and Pinot Noir of phenomenal quality. When the opportunity was presented to develop Meridian's Santa Barbara vineyards and relocate to the Central Coast, Ortman eagerly accepted the challenge. Today, Chuck is still making the wines from vineyards owned and farmed by Meridian Vineyards in the Santa Barbara County, Edna Valley and Paso Robles appellations.
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About Central Coast
The largest of California's wine growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of California's wine. The district sprawls out, covering most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara. Smaller sub-AVAs of the Central Coast include Monterey Bay, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains and many others.
Notable Facts Grape varieties range from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Some Central Coast wine is generic, bulk wine that contributes to the high production numbers of the area. But many winemakers and wineries, particular in some of the smaller AVAs, are small production artisans, creating unique and high-quality wine. The great thing about the Central Coast is its diversity - you're able to find a number of grape varieties and styles at a number of different price points.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.