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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

Calera El Nino Chardonnay 1998

Chardonnay from California
    0% ABV
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    Currently Unavailable $14.99
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    Winemaker Notes

    In most years we make some Chardonnay barrels, which for one reason or another do not make it into the Central Coast Chardonnay bottling. With the 98 Central Coast Chardonnay, we did a particularly rigorous selection, in effect keeping 4,000 cases worth of potential Central Coast Chardonnay out of that bottling. We have combined and bottled those barrels as a newly named, and much less expensive Chardonnay, which we named El Nino. This new wine is, like the Central Coast Chardonnay, a 100% barrel fermented and barrel aged Chardonnay, and it has a striking new look label. It's soft and fruity, with appealing varietal character, and represents a true bargain.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Calera

    Calera

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    Calera, California
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    Calera is a small ultra-premium winery located in the limestone-rich Gavilan Mountains, east of Monterey and south of Hollister, California. Josh Jensen planted Calera's first 23 acres of Pinot Noir in 1975. An additional 26.6 acres of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Viognier were planted in the 1980s, and 33 more acres, mostly Pinot Noir but also some additional Chardonnay, in 1997 and 1998. All these parces are in the Mt. Harlan AVA that was created in 1990. Calera produces 8 single-vineyard wines from Mt. Harlan, as well as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from grapes purchased from selected vineyards in the Central Coast regions.

    California

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    Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production, if California were a country, it would be the world’s fourth largest wine-producing nation. The state’s diverse terrain and microclimates allow for an incredible range of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from tiny, family-owned boutiques to massive corporations, and price and production are equally varied—plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Valley area, while Napa Valley is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.

    Each American Viticultural Area (AVA) and sub-AVA of has its own distinct personality, allowing California to produce wine of every fashion: from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc dominate vineyard acreage. Sonoma County is best known for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône Blends blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with cool climate varieties such as Pinot noir, Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, any wine lover will find something to get excited about here.

    Chardonnay

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    One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

    In the Glass

    When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.

    Perfect Pairings

    Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.

    Sommelier Secret

    Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.

    EBW66_1_1998 Item# 21434