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Chalone Estate Chardonnay 2011

Chardonnay from Chalone, Monterey, Central Coast, California
  • D93
14.5% ABV
  • WW93
  • W&S90
  • WS87
  • WE91
  • WS92
  • WS92
  • WS88
  • WE88
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Lovely and complex, the 2011 Estate Chardonnay shows the harmonious interplay of minerality and subtle fruit expression found in Chalone Vineyard wines. The exceptionally cool vintage emphasized the distinctive wet-stone terroir character, precise acidity and opulent texture that come from our limestone soils. The delicate fruit and floral notes are elegant and refined, unfolding in layers of white flowers, peach, pear and citrus. Partial malolactic fermentation added hints of creme brulee to the finish, while sur lie barrel aging seamlessly integrated French oak nuances. As this Chardonnay ages, the fresh, lemony notes in the aromas turn to complex brioche nuances - a characteristic Winemaker Robert Cook loves.

Critical Acclaim

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D 93
Decanter
Many of the Chardonnay vines date back to 1946, or have come from budwood of those oldest vines. This has a hint of reduction on the initial nose that gives it a true Burgundian character. Grapes have been hand-picked at night since the 2007 vintage, then whole- cluster pressed and aged in French oak barrels. This is rich and round in the mid-palate, with streaks of crème brulée and candied lemon, but twists of lemon-lime on the finish. Great value for this level of quality.
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Chalone

Chalone Vineyard

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Chalone Vineyard, Chalone, Monterey, Central Coast, California
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Perched high on the western slopes of the remote Gavilan Mountain Range on Mount Chalone, 1,800 feet above California's Salinas Valley, Chalone Vineyard represents a singular convergence of terroir and winemaking. Originally planted in 1919, the vineyard's ability to yield benchmark Chardonnay was discovered when Chalone Wine Group co-founder, Dick Graff, made his first vintage there in 1966. The time-honored Burgundian techniques he introduced complement the fruit's character to create the bouquet and flavors that are Chalone Vineyard Chardonnay's hallmarks. Chalone Vineyard's other estate-grown wines are equally distinctive. Chalone also produces Pinot Noir, Syrah, Pinot Blanc and Chenin Blanc.

Located in the Gabilan Mountains east of the fertile Salinas Valley, Chalone is named for the nearby Chalone peaks and produces fine Chardonnay and Pinot noir, among others.

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.

ALL5536142_2011 Item# 137036