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Mer Soleil Santa Barbara Reserve Chardonnay 2013

Chardonnay from Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
  • WS90
14.6% ABV
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4.8 5 Ratings
14.6% ABV

Winemaker Notes

With a bright golden hue that catches the light, the Santa Barbara Reserve Chardonnay evokes the scent of fresh melon and apricot, layered with hints of brown spice and cloves. On the palate, the wine is round and creamy, its mineral character enveloped in buttery richness and the taste of stone fruit. The finish is a wisp of acidity, providing balance and brightness and calling you back for another sip.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 90
Wine Spectator
Offers a generous mix of tropical fruit, with guava, pineapple and mango flavors accented by melon, spice and floral notes. Wellfocused and shaded by light toasty oak, this gains depth and nuance on the creamy finish. Drink now.
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Mer Soleil

Mer Soleil

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Mer Soleil, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
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Mer Soleil began in the late 1980s, with a journey to the central coast of California in search of ideal conditions to plant Chardonnay. Our first vineyards were in the Santa Lucia Highlands, a small but exceptional appellation about a 30-minute drive from Monterey. With morning fog, bright sunshine and howling gusts of afternoon wind, the region’s dramatic weather leads to an extended growing season, enabling us to make wines with distinctive aromas and flavors.

In addition to our Reserve Chardonnay from the Santa Lucia Highlands, we recently introduced a Reserve Pinot Noir, also from the Santa Lucia Highlands. Our SILVER unoaked Chardonnay comes from Monterey County – it is fermented and aged in a combination of stainless steel and concrete tanks. We also offer a Reserve Chardonnay from Santa Barbara county, where slightly warmer temperatures than in the Santa Lucia Highlands create subtle differences in the wine. Mer Soleil is led by owner and winemaker Charlie Wagner, who is passionate about how all these wines celebrate the California coast.

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Santa Barbara

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With a dry and mild climate cooled significantly by moist ocean fog and breezes, Santa Barbara County is a grape-grower’s dream. Part of the larger Central Coast appellation, Santa Barbara is home to Santa Maria Valley and Santa Ynez Valley. The conditions here provide an opportunity for nearly effortless production of high-quality cool-climate wines. This is also the site of the 2004 film Sideways, which caused Pinot Noir’s popularity to skyrocket and brought new acclaim to the region.

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the stars of Santa Barbara, producing wines marked by racy acidity. Crisp Sauvignon Blanc and savory Syrah are also important. The region is home to many young and enthusiastic winemakers eager to experiment with less common varieties including Chenin Blanc, Grüner Veltliner, Trousseau Gris, Gamay and Cabernet Franc, making it an exciting area to watch.

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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.

WBW30180044_2013 Item# 142914