New Customers Save $30 off $100+* with code OCTNEW30
New Customers Save $30* with code OCTNEW30
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Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2012
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2012 Chardonnay Grand Reserve (200,000 cases produced) is composed of Monterey and Santa Barbara fruit that spent nine months in largely French oak as well as smaller quantities of American wood. One-third is new, and this cuvee is put through full malolactic fermentation as opposed to the other Chardonnays where it is generally partially or completely blocked. Copious quantities of tropical fruits, pineapples, mangoes, apricot marmalade and honeyed citrus are found in this clean white that finishes with good acidity and a distant minerality. It was the only Chardonnay in this tasting that revealed a touch of oak.
Responsible for the vast majority of American wine production, if California were a country, it would be the world’s fourth largest wine-producing nation. The state’s diverse terrain and microclimates allow for an incredibly wide-ranging selection of wine styles, and unlike tradition-bound Europe, experimentation is more than welcome here. Wineries range from boutique to massive corporations, and price and quality are equally varied—plenty of inexpensive bulk wine is made in the Central Coast area, while Napa is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and expensive “cult” wines.
Just about every style of wine you can imagine is made in California, from bone dry to unctuously sweet, still to sparkling, light and fresh to rich and full-bodied. Each AVA and sub-AVA has its own distinct personality. In the Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other Bordeaux varieties dominate, as well as Sauvignon Blanc. Sonoma County is best known for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Zinfandel. The Central Coast has carved out a niche with Rhône blends based on Grenache and Syrah, while Mendocino has found success with Alsatian varieties such as Riesling and Gewürztraminer. With all the diversity that California has to offer, it is certain that any wine lover will find something to get excited about.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to create complex wines with many different layers of flavors and aromas, or to create more balanced wines. For example, a variety that is soft and full-bodied may be combined with one that is lighter with naturally high acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.