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Carlson Chardonnay 2014

Chardonnay from Central Coast, California
  • WE90
13.9% ABV
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13.9% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This wine shows a lighter touch of tropical fruit along with a hint of apples and lime. The barrel fermentation and the Sur-Lie aging provides richness and texture in the mouthfeel as well as a touch of vanillin and spice.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 90
Wine Enthusiast
Buttered toast, apricot, sour cream, Key-lime frosting and mandarin rinds show on the nose of this wine by veteran Chuck Carlson. Citrusy sourness starts the palate before strong chalk and slate notes arise, settling onto tones of seared lime, lemon rind, peach skin and apple. It packs lively energy.
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Carlson

Carlson

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Carlson, Central Coast, California
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Chuck Carlson’s winemaking career in Santa Barbara County spans more than 34 years, including the past ten years as the proprietor of Carlson Wines, specializing in limited-edition wines including Pinot Noir from Santa Rita Hills along with Cabernet Franc and several aromatic white wines from the Santa Ynez Valley.

As a young winemaker with a newly minted enology degree from Fresno State University, Chuck first joined Zaca Mesa Winery in the Santa Ynez Valley, where he helped create the winery’s groundbreaking Rhône varietal program. The “school of Zaca Mesa” has since become renowned for launching the careers of many notable Central Coast winemakers. For nearly 20 years, Chuck served as the winemaker at Curtis Winery in the Santa Ynez Valley, which was founded as one of California’s first wineries to specialize exclusively in Rhône varietals.

Along the way, however, Chuck never lost his personal affinity for the Pinot Noir grape, and in 2004 he launched Carlson Wines, with the singular goal of crafting a trio of Pinot Noirs showcasing the individual qualities of three standout vineyards in three premier Central Coast appellations. He has since expanded his offerings to Cabernet Franc and aromatic whites.

Among Chuck’s personal interests is deep sea fishing, and his related adventures have earned him the nicknmame "Calypso." Chuck and his wife have two grown children, and live in Arroyo Grande.

Central Coast

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The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces a good majority of the state's wine. This vast district stretches from San Francisco all the way to Santa Barbara along the coast, and reaches inland nearly all the way to the Central Valley.

Encompassing an extremely diverse array of climates, soil types and wine styles, it contains many smaller sub-AVAs, including San Francisco Bay, Monterey, the Santa Cruz Mountains, Paso Robles, Edna Valley, Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley.

While the region could probably support almost any major grape varietiy, it is famous for a few. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are among the major ones. The Central Coast is home to many of the state's small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as larger producers also making exceptional wines.

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 is grown and how it is made. While practically every country in the wine producing world grows it, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. As far as cellar potential, white Burgundy rivals the world’s other age-worthy whites like Riesling or botrytized Semillon. California is Chardonnay’s second most important home, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia and South America are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay flavors tend towards grapefruit, lemon zest, green apple, celery leaf and wet flint, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut and spice, while malolactic fermentation imparts a soft and creamy texture.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with flaky white fish with herbs, scallops, turkey breast and soft cheeses. Richer Chardonnays marry well with lobster, crab, salmon, roasted chicken and creamy 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. In Burgundy, the subregion of Chablis, while typically employing the use of older oak barrels, produces a similar bright and acid-driven style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy its lighter style.

CWL33200714_2014 Item# 146151