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Zaca Mesa Zaca Vineyards Chardonnay 2001
Now, a word about barrels: while barrels are hugely important to all of our wines, oak flavor is not. There are flavors and textures brought out of fruit you cant get any other way than through barrel fermentation and ageing. But those are flavors brought out of the fruit. Its the flavors imposed on the fruit that we try to minimize, flavors we minimize by mainaining a low percentage of new barrels, underscoring the barrels textural advantages while holding the oak flavors and aromas down to just soft accents. Its also important to note that our Chardonnay is predominantly non-malolactic.
At over 1,500 foot elevation, the Zaca Mesa vineyards are among the highest in Santa Barbara County. Warm sunny days and cool, breezy afternoons produce temperature conditions ideal for our Rhone varietals: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier, Cinsaut and Counoise.
This land has always driven our approach to farming. Way back in 1978, when Zaca Mesa was established, it was the first Santa Barbara County winery to plant the lush and luscious red/black Rhone grape Syrah. Zaca Mesa's estate program is now dominated by the incredible, blend-able Rhone superstars.
We are committed to the highest quality grapes, so year-round, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, Ruben and his crew manage our 246 vineyard acres to maximize the unique character of our fruit. This means conservative cropping, resulting in fewer tons per acre, careful pruning to achieve that delicate balance between vigor and crop, and leaf pulling to encourage healthy cluster development.
Our wines are true to the uniqueness of our estate fruit, with a focus on quality. We are always working with new and exciting varietal blends, wines that pair perfectly with the cuisine of today. A little something off the grill and a glass of Zaca Mesa Syrah (or Chardonnay. or Z Cuvee. or Z Gris), we are proud to bring you our vineyard to your glass.
The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of the state's wine. The sprawling district covers most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara from the coast 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 Monterey, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, and Santa Cruz Mountains.
Just about every major international grape variety is planted within this vast AVA, from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. A significant proportion of the region’s produce is generic, inexpensive bulk wine, but the Central Coast is also home to many small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as everything in between.
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.
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.
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.