One of the best values in California Chardonnay that we've seen in a long time.
"Bright yellow hue. Shy scents of peach, brown butter and dusty gravel. Rich, quite ripe, though very taut, flavors of buttery banana, lime and oak spice. Very long close positively gushes with stone fruit and apple notes." -The Wine News 95 Points
The beautiful weather throughout the critical months of September and October of 2005 provided us with ripe and perfectly balanced fruit. At Bernardus, all our grapes our hand picked and very gently pressed in order to retain their best characteristics.
The resulting wine is a perfect expression of Monterey Chardonnay, with bright citrus and tropical fruit aromas married with mineral notes and subtle toasty oak nuances. The lush, opulent palate is intense and focused with complex flavors of ripe pineapple, lime, mineral notes, and crème brulèe lingering on a long, creamy finish.
The focus of Bernardus is to create wines that flatter the palate and stimulate the imagination. Our Marinus Estate Bordeaux-style red wine is the centerpiece of owner Ben Pon's dream. It is complemented by Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc from cool coastal climate vineyards. We also offer limited bottlings of small production and vineyard designate wines, which are available exclusively through the tasting room and wine club... taste a dream.
Pon appreciates wine as an art-- a form of art that transcends the ordinary. His dream with Bernardus is to make a red wine equal to the finest from Bordeaux. To achieve this purpose, Ben, a Dutchman who could have planted vineyards anywhere in the world, has chosen the Carmel Valley for his estate vineyards and winery. Since the early 1970's, there has been a growing awareness of the outstanding potential for Bordeaux varieties from this new viticultural appellation. The Bernardus estate vineyards of Marinus and Featherbow Ranch are located in the Cachagua region of the Carmel Valley. We have been told that Cachagua is the Spanish word Native Americans used for deep or hidden water. It has been said that Native Americans believed that all things in nature were sacred and interrelated. Their respect for balance in nature is carried on in the vineyards of Bernardus. More than 300 live oaks have been preserved to thrive among carefully planted vines.
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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.
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 unto 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.
Oak and butter and compexity. This has become my "house" Chard. Not a fan of unoaked chards, so you gotta love butter. If you do, go for a bottle or two. It won't rock your world, but you'd be hard pressed to gather the muster to spit this one out at a tasting.
Vanilla nose with a hint of citrus, golden colored but not fruity. Dry taste with acidic fine finish. Excellent paring for cheese and a light pasta in a butter and wine sauce. Brought out the flavor of seafood as well as cheese, chocolate, and pasta. Best chardonnay of the year for me so far.
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.