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Dierberg Chardonnay 2009

Chardonnay from Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California
  • RP93
14.5% ABV
  • RP92
  • WE91
  • RP92
  • CG94
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Our 2009 Chardonnay opens with vibrant orchard fruit aromatics, particularly Anjou pear and Fuji apple. With air, these are augmented by autumnal scents of baking spice and Marcona almond. Racy on the palate, this is a vintage full of fresh, mineral energy- hints of sea shell and river stones that dovetail into a long, mouthwatering finish. Perhaps our most precise expression of our Santa Maria vineyard yet, we expect this vivacious Chardonnay to age beautifully over the next 6 to 8 years.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Among the two Chardonnays, I have a preference for the straight 2009 Chardonnay, which is absolutely gorgeous. Rich layers of fruit caress the palate from start to finish. Aging in 400-liter oak barrels seems to integrate better with this fruit than steel, resulting in a more harmonious wine. The expansive, generous finish is framed by an unobtrusive hint of oak. This is a fabulous showing from Dierberg. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2017.
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Dierberg

Dierberg

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Dierberg, Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California
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Dierberg Estate Vineyards lie very close to the Pacific Ocean in California's Central Coast wine region. The vineyards provide both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for Dierberg Estate wines. In 1997, Mary and Jim Dierberg planted the first vineyard near the town of Santa Maria. Seven years later, they planted a second vineyard in what is known as Drum Canyon, south of Santa Maria, in the Santa Rita Hills. Our coastal environment provides a combination of sunny days, maritime breezes and well drained soils, perfectly suited to cool climate viticulture.

The Central Coast's cool-weather terroir is exemplified at the two estate vineyards that provide Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for Dierberg Estate: the original Dierberg Vineyard in Santa Maria - planted in 1997 - and the newer Drum Canyon vineyard located farther to the south in the Santa Rita Hills. In both vineyards, cooling Pacific Ocean fog and breezes keep this sunny corner of California far cooler than one would imagine. This phenomenon favors crisp acidity and gentle ripening in classic Burgundian Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.

Dierberg's 160-acre vineyard outside the town of Santa Maria, and just 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean, is planted to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It lies at the southern end of the Santa Maria Valley and is graced with gentle hillside slopes, sandy loam soils and western exposures. About one third of the vineyard is planted to Chardonnay, with the rest planted to Pinot Noir.

Santa Maria Valley

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A lesser-known but elite AVA within the larger Santa Barbara district, the Santa Maria Valley AVA runs precisely west to east starting near the coast. The valley funnels cool, Pacific Ocean air to the vineyards more inland, allowing grapes a longer hang time to ripen evenly and achieve their full potential by harvest time. Combined with minimal rainfall, consistent warm sunshine, and well-drained soils, it is an ideal environment for grape growing.

Many of the wineries here are small and highly respected, having established a reputation in the 1970s and 80s for producing excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. More recently, Syrah has also proven quite successful in the region. Many vineyards are owned by growers who sell their grapes to other wineries, so it is common to see the same vineyard name on bottlings from different wineries. Bien Nacido Vineyard is perhaps the best-known and most prestigious.

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.

TEWT0590909_2009 Item# 119623