Chamisal Vineyards Monterey Chardonnay 2017
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2017 Chardonnay Monterey County opens with notes of gunflint and toast over baked apples, yellow pears, popcorn and a tropical tinge. The palate is medium-bodied and rounded with an über spicy, fresh fruit profile lifted by mouthwatering acidity, and it finishes long and toasty. This has an appealing yin-yang of savory and bright citrus character.
Broad and creamy aromas are cut by lemon juice and crushed chalk on the approachable
nose of this bottling. The smoky quality extends to the palate, where toasted almond, ripe
peach and salted lemons make for a mouthwatering experience.
Pioneers in winemaking on the Central Coast, Chamisal Vineyards was the first to plant vineyards in the Edna Valley in 1973. Chamisal is nestled five miles inland from the Pacific Ocean on the rugged California Coast. With the cooling Pacific Ocean nearby, the long temperate growing season extends the amount of time grapes stay on the vine to develop their flavors. This extended hang time paired with the calcareous, clay-rich soil of the property produces fruit with exceptional intensity and complex flavors, often showing a distinctive character that some fondly call "Chamisal Spice."
Chamisal Vineyards has a site-driven approach to winemaking, crafting each wine as an expression of the unique terroir of the vineyards from which it is sourced. When applied to Chardonnay, this approach produces a range of versatile and distinctive wines that range from full-bodied and supple with generous oak influence to lean, elegant and mineral-driven.
In 2010, Chamisal Vineyards became the second winery ever to become SIP (Sustainability in Practice) certified. This program, separate from vineyard certification, requires that winemaking operations also be sustainable and respectful of the environment. They tightly monitor and control the winery’s energy and water use by using solar panels to produce 25 percent of the electrical power needed and implemented a water-recapture system that reclaims 100 percent of Chamisal winery process water for irrigation needs. Chamisal Vineyards has always thrived to protect the environment and their communities. It has become clear to us that the emission of Green House Gases (GHG) not only is the biggest environmental threat, but also that the majority of environmental advances are tied to their ability to emit less GHG. They have embarked on a fundamental transformation of how they grow grapes and make wines and have joined international organizations such as the Porto Protocol and the International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA). They have committed to reduce their GHG emissions by 50% by 2030 and 100% by 2050.
A geographic and climatic paradise for grape vines, Monterey is a part of the greater Central Coast AVA and contains within it five smaller sub-appellations, including Arroyo Seco, San Lucas, San Bernabe, Hames Valley and the famous Santa Lucia Highlands. The climate is relatively warm but tempered by cool, coastal winds, allowing the regions in Monterey County an exceptionally long growing season. Bud break often happens two weeks sooner and harvest tends to be two weeks later compared to other surrounding regions.
Monterey’s coastal side, where the cooling ocean fog allows grapes to develop a perfect sugar-acid balance, excels in the production of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling. Warmer, inland subzones are home to fleshy, concentrated and full-bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Zinfandel.
Chardonnay, covering about 40% of vineyard acreage, is the most widely planted grape in all of Monterey County.
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.