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Mount Eden Vineyards Reserve Chardonnay 2012

Chardonnay from Santa Cruz Mountains, California
  • V96
14% ABV
  • JD95
  • V94
  • RP95
  • RP94
  • WE92
  • WS90
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14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

In the glass the difference is subtle but noticeable between the Estate and the Reserve. The Reserve has more earth, mineral notes, and texture coming from the lee influence. The Estate has more bright fruit. Aging potential is still unknown since the Reserve has only been made since 2007 but so far it seems to be aging more slowly than the Estate bottling.

Critical Acclaim

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V 96
Vinous
The 2012 Chardonnay Reserve is absolutely gorgeous. Vivid and pure, with notable intensity but no excess weight, the 2012 has everything going on. Chamomile, white flowers, mint and white pepper give the wine its natural brightness and lift. Graphite, slate and a host of more mineral-inflected notes add complexity through to the long, articulate finish. Mount Eden's Chardonnay is one of the truly great wines of California. The 2012 Reserve is not a big wine, but it is sublime, even if it is a bit closed today. Even so, the wine's pedigree is first-class all the way. Quite simply, Mount Eden's Reserve is one of the best Chardonnays, not just in the United States, but in the world.
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Mount Eden Vineyards

Mount Eden Vineyards

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Mount Eden Vineyards, Santa Cruz Mountains, California
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Mount Eden Vineyards is a small historic wine estate perched at 2000 feet overlooking Silicon Valley in the Santa Cruz Mountain Appellation, about 50 miles south of San Francisco. Founded in 1945, it is recognized as one of the original “boutique” California winery properties, focusing on small lots of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Mount Eden’s lineage of estate bottled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is the longest in California. Planted in austere, infertile Franciscan shale on a cool, exposed mountaintop, these low-yielding estate vineyards have consistently produced world-class wines for over a half-century. In 2007 Mount Eden acquired an additional 55 acre wine estate in the Saratoga foothills, which was christened Domaine Eden.

Mount Eden Vineyards also produces non-estate Chardonnays from the central coast, primarily Edna Valley. They have great success making Chardonnay from the Wolff Vineyard and are continually recognized as making outstanding wines from that region.

Since 1981 Jeffrey Patterson has guided the winemaking and grape growing at Mount Eden. His emphasis is on wine growing rather than winemaking; and an obsession with gentleness and naturalness in the handling of the grapes and wines is his ongoing passion.

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.

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.

MBWMERCH_2012 Item# 180609