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Ojai Puerta del Mar Chardonnay 2015

Chardonnay from Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
  • WW93
  • V91
13.5% ABV
  • V93
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13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

2015 continued the streak of vintages since 2012 that were particularly warm and early, though the crop was the smallest since 2011. This warmth produced wines that have been particularly easy going and delicious, and in 2015 they have an intensity and drive that wasn’t seen in the other warm years.

With this one you’ll find a fleeting streak of just-ripe stone fruit aromas, and then an ethereal presence of orchard blossoms and salty minerals. On the palate, the wine is creamy and has a refreshing lightness, with acidity that crackles across your tongue rather than cuts.

Critical Acclaim

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WW 93
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
A superb effort, the zesty and mouthwatering 2015 Ojai Vineyard Puerta del Mar Chardonnay displays uncommon brightness from start to finish. The wine's green and red apple flavors intermix nicely with its brisk minerality. Pair it with a lemon-accented roast chicken salad. (Tasted: May 11, 2017, San Francisco, CA)
V 91
Vinous
The 2015 Chardonnay Puerta del Mar has a bit more focus and energy than the Bien Nacido tasted alongside it. White peach, apple and floral overtones give the wine tension and brightness throughout. This is in an especially fresh style for the year.
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Ojai
Ojai, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
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Adam Tolmach went to UC Davis and studied viticulture and enology, and after graduating in 1976 he settled down on the property his grandfather bought in the Ojai Valley in 1933 to farm sweet corn and melons, selling them at a roadside stand. After two years of this satisfying, yet difficult and nearly profitless work he sought employment in his field of study.

Adam had planted a vineyard in Ojai to Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc and had begun producing wine from that fruit in 1983. When the collaboration with Clendenen ended he concentrated all his attention on The Ojai Vineyard to further explore the infinite details of his craft.

Looking back over the last 25 years, one can see the development of The Ojai Vineyard came in three distinct phases. In the beginning it was lots of fun discovering the budding Santa Barbara County, experimenting with new plantings, new areas, and a wide selection of varietals; Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and other Rhone varietals. Back in 1983 the vines were grown without much care in what was called a California sprawl. It took years to get growers to move towards progressive practices like drip irrigation and vertical trellising to improved wine grape quality.

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.

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’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.

OJAOJAI15CHPM_2015 Item# 228187