Melville Vineyards Chardonnay, Santa Rita Hills 2015
Pale straw in color, with intriguing aromatics of grilled lemon, honeysuckle and pear emerging up front. On the palate, notes of fresh ginger, kumquat and dried straw mingle with weightier impressions of sourdough toast, caramel and roasted marshmallow. The mouthfeel is velvety, with a touch of oiliness on the mid-palate along with an energetic streak of acidity that anchors a voluptuous and polished finish.
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Monthelie Blanc Cuvee Miss Armande 2015$38.00
Wedged between Volnay and Meursault, Monthelie produces vastly more red than white, making the 201 Chardonnay that much more unique and impressive: It is close to Meursault in both place of origin and style, showing serious power, perfume, and classic structure. Adding to the already considerable charm of this wine is its fantastic backstory. The name “Cuvée Miss Armande” refers (and pays tribute) to Armande Douhairet, who for many years helmed this family domaine. She had no heirs, and took the extraordinary step of legally adopting André Porcheret—a grown man and well-known Burgundy winemaking figure to boot—so that she could leave the domaine to him (she passed away in 2004).
In the glass, the 2014 “Cuvée Miss Armande” is a deep, reflective yellow-gold with slight hints of green at the rim. The nose is an assertive mix of Asian pear, apple blossoms, white flowers and Meyer lemon followed by notes of toasted hazelnut, white mushroom, beeswax, and even a hint of drawn butter (calling classic Meursault to mind). There’s a level of richness and accessibility that is perfectly framed by acidity, suggesting many years of positive evolution ahead. We’re intrigued to see what this wine becomes after 3-5 years more cellaring; my bet it that it will outperform lots of much-more-expensive competition. Enjoy this—it’s a truly fabulous Burgundy bargain!
Rose Rock Chardonnay 2016, Willamette Valley$34.00
The Rose Rock Chardnnay 2016 is made by the famed Domaine Drouhin people! Super fresh aromas of lemon and lime zest, leading to fresh white peaches. This has a very impressive sense of purity and clarity that follows to the fresh, linear palate. Impressively rened chardonnay.” This Roserock Chardonnay is vibrant and round, with broad floral notes and energetic touches of noisette, peach and pear. The palate’s enveloping texture is balanced by clear structure and a sense of minerality. It is an elegant and complex wine, with a long finish, and I expect this vintage to evolve nicely over the next few years.– 94pts James Suckling; 92pts Wine Enthusiast Editor’s Choice; 91pts Wine Spectator, Top 100 Wines of 2018.
Jayson by Pahlmeyer Chardonnay 2017, Napa County$56.00
The Jayson Chardonnay 2017 has brilliant golden straw color and aromas of warm spice, tangerine, and sweet orange; intriguing tropical floral notes carry over onto the palate. Notes of ripe pear, apricot, and mango peel are accented by warm spice and rich caramel, for a wine that is both weighty and fresh. Editor’s Choice 94 points Wine Enthusiast.