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Ken Brown Nielson Vineyard Chardonnay 2007

Chardonnay from Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California
    14% ABV
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    14% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    This Chardonnay is rich and luxurious with aromas of Bartlett pear, honeysuckle and spice, which will gradually evolve into aromas of honey, pear and hazelnut as the wine develops. A rich mouth feel and opulent mid-palate are beautifully balanced by a thread of natural acidity, a trademark of Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay. The wine culminates in a silky, seamless finish.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Ken Brown

    Ken Brown

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    Ken Brown, Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California
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    Our Focus at Ken Brown Wines is on very small lots of Pinot Noir from the finest vineyards of Sta. Rita Hills. The wines are produced at our winery in Buellton at the gateway to the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, and most lots consist of 250 cases or less. Total annual production is only about 2,000 cases. I work with growers, many of whom I've known for years, to hand select vineyard blocks for our program. Some of the remarkable vineyards we work with include Cargasacchi, Clos Pepe, Rio Vista and Sanford & Benedict. We also produce limited bottlings of Chardonnay and Syrah. My wife, Deborah, and I make up the staff of Ken Brown Wines, and we enjoy the close relationships we have with our wines and our customers.

    Most of my career has been spent pursuing the elusive traits that make great Pinot Noir. From my early days at Zaca Mesa Winery to my 20-year tenure at Byron Vineyard to our small family operation at Ken Brown Wines, I have continued to experiment with clones, rootstocks, soils and winemaking techniques, exploring the tremendous potential for Pinot Noir in Santa Barbara County.

    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.

    WWH121656_2007 Item# 108919