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Paraiso Vineyards Chardonnay 2000
The rugged Santa Lucia Mountains frame Monterey County’s fertile Salinas Valley on the west, separating it from the Pacific Ocean. The famed Santa Lucia Highlands appellation encompasses a series of small alluvial terraces on the lower slopes of the range – perfect for boutique growers of world-class Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. The vines of this unique hillside district enjoy cooling ocean breezes and fog from nearby Monterey Bay. The resulting slow, gentle ripening contributes to California’s longest “hang time” – creating exceptional intensity, complexity, and balance in the grapes. Planted in 1973, the sixteen small vineyard plots of Paraiso Springs occupy unique microclimatic niches on the 400-acre estate. With varying elevations and soils, each plot boasts its own terroir, its own special sense of place…
The Smith Family has earned its reputation through constant experimentation and innovation, both in the vineyard and in the cellar. Combining time-honored techniques with these latest advances, Rich and Claudia’s son-in-law, winemaker David Fleming, practices his art – hands-on, barrel-by-barrel. The limited release wines of P.S.V. are among the most awarded in the state, eagerly sought after by collectors across the country…
The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces a good majority of the state's wine. This vast district stretches from San Francisco all the way to Santa Barbara along the coast, and reaches inland nearly all the way to the Central Valley.
Encompassing an extremely diverse array of climates, soil types and wine styles, it contains many smaller sub-AVAs, including San Francisco Bay, Monterey, the Santa Cruz Mountains, Paso Robles, Edna Valley, Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley.
While the region could probably support almost any major grape varietiy, it is famous for a few. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are among the major ones. The Central Coast is home to many of the state's small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as larger producers also making exceptional wines.
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.
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.
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.