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Santa Barbara Winery Reserve Chardonnay 2015

Chardonnay from Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
    0% ABV
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    • WE92
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    Winemaker Notes

    The Sta. Rita Hills of the western Santa Ynez Valley is an area where local geography influences the climate to create conditions extremely well-suited for growing world-class Chardonnay. The winery gives this wine a "reserve" designation because these grapes are harvested from distinct soil types and Chardonnay clones that yield the greatest flavor concentration and fruit intensity. The resulting wine is full-bodied and richly textured with complexity of flavor, further enhanced by barrel fermentation. 'Sur lie' lets the fermented wine 'sit' over the sediment created by fermentation. The barrels are stirred frequently to better absorb the flavors of the 'lie' (pronounced 'lee'). The resulting wine has aromatic and flavor intensity.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Santa Barbara Winery

    Santa Barbara Winery

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    Santa Barbara Winery, Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, Central Coast, California
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    In 1962, Pierre Lafond re-established Santa Barbara County's winemaking tradition by founding Santa Barbara Winery. The winery was the first since prohibition and is part of an association that has grown to 40 wineries located in Santa Barbara County. In the early years, Pierre made wine from purchased fruit, but soon realized the potential for premium wine made from Santa Barbara County grapes. In 1971, he purchased land in the western Santa Ynez Valley and began planting what is now a 95 acre vineyard. Today, annual production is around 32,000 cases.

    Bruce McGuire was working as a winemaker in the Sacramento Delta in 1981 when Pierre Lafond invited him to take over the winemaking operation at Santa Barbara Winery. Since then, the winery has produced world class red and white wines. Bruce's winemaking philosophy begins in the vineyard. He believes the quality and integrity of the wine is inextricably linked to what happens in the field — from the pruning in the winter, to the harvest in the autumn.

    Sta. Rita Hills

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    A superior source of Californian wine beloved by Burgundy fans, Sta. Rita Hills is the coolest, western most sub-region of the larger Santa Ynez Valley appellation in Santa Barbara County. This relatively new AVA is unquestionably one to keep an eye on.

    The climate of Sta. Rita Hills is a natural match for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Thanks to the crisp ocean breezes and well-drained, limestone-rich calcareous soil, grapes ripen just enough, retaining brisk acidity and demonstrating saline minerality and harmonious balance.

    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.

    HNYSBWCRS15C_2015 Item# 355169