Bernardus Sierra Mar Vineyard Chardonnay 2011
Chardonnay from Central Coast, California
Sierra Mar is a superb new vineyard planted by the renowned grower Gary Franscioni on a dramatic hilltop location at the southern end of the Santa Lucia Highlands. We at Bernardus are honored to be among the few to receive both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from this up-and-coming super star.
We have chosen three from among the several clones of Chardonnay planted here: the celebrated Wente Clone and Dijon clones 95 and 96. As usual at Bernardus, we use only hand-picked and sorted grapes for our wines.
On the nose we find aromas of ripe apple and pear with notes of orange blossom and caramel. The palate is beautifully rich with flavors of baked pear and candied orange peel, with hints of fresh, creamy butter accented by cinnamon and nutmeg. The finish is long and well-structured promising wonderful ageing potential for this delicious wine.
The Wine Advocate - "Almost as good and offering more stone fruits, pear, citrus rind, flowers and brioche, the 2011 Chardonnay Sierra Mar Vineyard is vividly defined and pure on the palate, with beautiful acidity and a lengthy, seamless finish. As with the Rosella’s Vineyard, it is a thrilling Chardonnay that will drink nicely through 2016 or beyond. Drink now-2016."
Wine Enthusiast - "This is a very fine, distinctive Chardonnay that's tight and streamlined. It's tangy with lemony acidity and a brisk minerality, but there’s also plenty of tropical fruit, apricot and honey flavors as well. Creamy notes of buttered toast and lees add richness to the palate."
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. View all Bernardus Wines
About Central CoastView a map of Central Coast wineries
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 FactsGrape 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.
About CaliforniaIt'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.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost 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.