Chardonnay – Not Just For Breakfast Any More!

Oct 8, 2009 by

Chardonnay is a comfortable wine. It is easy to drink, easy to pronounce, easy to find in your favorite wine store or restaurant wine list and it doesn’t stain your clothes when you spill it on yourself (I never do that – hah!). Chardonnays can range in style from lean, crisp and austere, to big, warm, creamy and juicy-fruity.

You may want to try Chardonnay served at slightly cooler than room temperature, so you may enjoy the layers of aromas and flavors. If you serve them too cold, you might be missing out on subtle nuances.

My panel and I tasted 16 Chardonnays from all over California. The following 11 were our favorites:

Five Stars
Panel Favorite!
Handley Vineyard
2007 Chardonnay, Estate Vineyard, Anderson Valley $20
I wanted to jump in this glass and swim around! Aromas and flavors of vanilla, baking spices apple and pear blend seamlessly and are all wrapped up in a luscious, balanced mouthfeel. A steal at $20!

Four Stars
Navarro Vineyards
2007 Chardonnay, Premiere Reserve, Anderson Valley $25
Mouthwatering aromas of poached pears, apple, cinnamon and lemon continue as flavors in the plush, creamy mouth. Long, delicious finish.

Four Stars
White Oak Winery
2007 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley $24
WOW! That’s the initials of this winery and a great descriptor for this outstanding Chardonnay – just wow! Everything is in balance with this beauty – just the right amount of apple, pear and tropical fruit, enhanced by a hint of toast and brown spice.

Four Stars
Gallo Family Vineyards
2007 Chardonnay, Sonoma County $12
Such a deal! This is a fantastic Chardonnay for the money! Creme Brule, orange peel, vanilla and ripe pear dance together from the first sniff, through the creamy mouthfeel, to the long, juicy finish. Buy some. Buy some now!

Four Stars
Eberle Winery
2008 Chardonnay, Paso Robles $18
Alluring scents of apricot jam, key lime pie with whipped cream, browned butter and vanilla lure the taster into a mouthful of decadent Chardonnay deliciousness – the aromas carry on as flavors with good intensity. Yum!

Four Stars
Sullivan Vineyards
2006 Chardonnay, Napa Valley $30
One sniff and there’s no doubt – this wine screams “Chardonnay!” And a really good Chardonnay, at that! Baked apple, buttered toast, caramel and a hint of citrus abound in the nose and in the mouth. Balanced and delicious. A classic!

Three Stars
Merryvale Vineyard
2007 Chardonnay, Carneros $35
What a pretty Chardonnay! Perfumed scents of honeysuckle, lemon blossom, marmalade, buttered toast, citrus and fresh green herbs continue as flavors in the creamy, juicy mouth.

Three Stars
Navarro Vineyards
2007 Chardonnay, Mendocino County $17
A tropical vacation in a glass, this delicious Chardonnay is packed with aromas and flavors of pineapple, mango, citrus, exotic flowers, creme caramel and a bite of toast. Way too easy to drink!

Three Stars
Gloria Ferrer
2007 Chardonnay, Estate Grown, Carneros $19
Where’s the popcorn? This is a “butter bomb” style of Chardonnay – perfect for those who enjoy that buttery goodness. Along with the butter, vanilla, baked apple and citrus notes play nicely together in the nose and in the mouth.

Three Stars
Merryvale Vineyard
2007 Chardonnay, Starmont, Napa Valley $20
Caramel apples, melon, vanilla, Myer lemon and a hint of green herbs delight the nose and palate. Big, balanced and luscious in the mouth. Oooh yeah!

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