Ann Albert Bien Nacido Vineyard Chardonnay 2017
The 2017 Ann Albert Bien Nacido Vineyard Chardonnay exudes aromas of yellow apple, lime juice, and pears. The palate bursts with flavors of guava, kiwi, almond paste, and brioche.
Cait Ann Johnson and Eric Albert Johnson met in 2012 at a wine tasting event where they bonded over their love of wine and soon after, each other. In 2015 they began their life together and decided to create Ann Albert Wines to share their expression of Chardonnay and Gamay with the community.
In his day job, Eric is the winemaker at the historic Talley Vineyards winery in Arroyo Grande Valley where he specializes in cool climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Cait, started o? in the wine industry, working at various wineries and as a sommelier, until she began a career in digital marketing.
Their winemaking philosophy is quite simple and minimalistic. For the Chardonnay, their muse is Chablis — pure and energetic. With the Gamay, they derive their vision from the great wines of Beaujolais — elegant masculinity. Ann Albert sources their grapes from high quality vineyards, as the goal is for the vineyard to express itself through the wines. The ideology is to partner with great vineyards and growers, nail the pick, and get out of the way.
A lesser-known but elite AVA within the larger Santa Barbara district, the Santa Maria Valley AVA runs precisely west to east starting near the coast. The valley funnels cool, Pacific Ocean air to the vineyards more inland, allowing grapes a longer hang time to ripen evenly and achieve their full potential by harvest time. Combined with minimal rainfall, consistent warm sunshine, and well-drained soils, it is an ideal environment for grape growing.
Many of the wineries here are small and highly respected, having established a reputation in the 1970s and 80s for producing excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. More recently, Syrah has also proven quite successful in the region. Many vineyards are owned by growers who sell their grapes to other wineries, so it is common to see the same vineyard name on bottlings from different wineries. Bien Nacido Vineyard is perhaps the best-known and most prestigious.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.