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Flat front label of wine

Mignanelli Nelson Vineyard Chardonnay 2014

Chardonnay from Santa Cruz Mountains, California
  • WE93
  • W&S90
13.4% ABV
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13.4% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The Nelson Family Vineyard occupies 9 choice acres of the 162 acre Nelson home ranch, at approximately 1700ft of elevation. The majority of the property remains a Redwood forest in a wild, natural state, home to many species of native plants and animals. The sparse soils beneath the vines consist of only a couple of feet of topsoil, with ancient marine uplift soils supplying the base rock beneath the vines.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
From Mt. Eden and Wente clones grown at 1,700 feet, this under-$30 bottling shows key lime and pomelo pith freshness on the nose, backed by chalk, crushed sea shell and tangerine blossom aromas. There is a fine-grained texture to the tannins on the palate, where bright citrus fruit meets with marcona almond touches. It's simultaneously refreshing and savory.
Editors' Choice.
W&S 90
Wine & Spirits
This has the sun-warmed ripeness and minty, wild aroma of a California mountain chardonnay; it feels plump and almost butterscotch-rich at first, but air eats away at the sweetness, coaxing the fruit toward a sleek orange-blossom tone. For seared scallops.
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Mignanelli Winery

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Mignanelli Winery, Santa Cruz Mountains, California
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Mignanelli Winery was founded in 2011 and is based outside the town of Sonoma, California. Winemaker and owner, Byron Mignanelli, crafts distinvtive small lot Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Byron’s winemaking philosophy focuses on the vineyard and showcasing the unique time and place of each vintage rather than modern day production techniques. We strongly believe at Mignanelli Winery that the best wines are vine to table.

Mignanelli sources fruit from Santa Maria Valley to the Eola-Amity Hills of Willamette Valley. We’re lucky to work with some amazing sites and winegrowers who are focused on long-term sustainable practices. We are very strict with how we choose our vineyards - seeking unique soils, climates and growers who share our vision of creating organic and biodynamic vineyards. Mignanelli is lucky to also be sourcing fruit from several old vine, original plantings in California and Oregon.

Santa Cruz Mountains

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A rugged and topographically diverse cool-climate appellation with a rich history, the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA stretches from Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco, to the northern border of Monterey County. Elevations range from 800 feet to upwards of 3,000 and microclimates vary substantially depending on which side of the mountains the vineyards lie; cool ocean winds and fog play an important role here. This can be a challenging region in which to grow grapes, but it is well worth the effort. Santa Cruz Mountains wines are noted for balanced acidity levels, often showing great aging potential. Wine has been made here since the 1800s, most notably from the legendary Ridge Vineyards, whose Monte Bello vineyard garners international admiration.

Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are the stars of this region, while Merlot and Zinfandel also perform quite well. Organic and sustainable vineyard practices are becoming increasingly common.


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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’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.

In the Glass

When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.

Perfect Pairings

Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based 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. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.

LID10004459_2014 Item# 354821