Mer Soleil Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2003
Chardonnay from Central Coast, California
Initial aromas of the ripe apple/pear/grape combination inherent in Chardonnay quickly evolve into rich scents of mango, pineapple, lemon, butterscotch and subtle smoke. Explosive flavors—tropical fruits and spices with a balancing layer of zesty citrus from the mid-palate on through to the extended finish. Seems to fill every corner of the mouth.
Mer Soleil Winery
The Mer Soleil Vineyard is named for two natural forces that create its growing conditions: sea (mer) and sun (soleil). With plantings at two separate locations in the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation of Monterey County, Mer Soleil’s Chardonnay vines are nestled on east-facing lower slopes of the Sierra de Salinas range in what is one of the coolest, driest grape growing areas in California. During the growing season, warmer inland temperatures at the southern end of the Salinas Valley pull cooling morning and evening fogs into the vineyards. The afternoons, in contrast, are evenly warm and sunny. The absence of rain throughout the long growing season—harvest typically continues into November—and a pattern of brisk afternoon breezes keeps the grapes dry and pristine.
Charlie Wagner II is the winemaker and directs vineyard operations at Mer Soleil
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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.