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Flat front label of wine

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 the majority of the state's wine. The sprawling district covers most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara from the coast 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 Monterey, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, and Santa Cruz Mountains.

Just about every major international grape variety is planted within this vast AVA, from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. A significant proportion of the region’s produce is generic, inexpensive bulk wine, but the Central Coast is also home to many small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as everything in between.

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.

CWL33200714_2014 Item# 146151