Go-to Spots for the Best Coastal Chardonnays


By Virginie Boone:

It has been fashionable for some time for people to claim they’ll drink anything but chardonnay, and yet the stylistically eclectic white wine belies its doubters, remaining the most popular wine of any color in the United States….

Grown in many locations and made in many ways, from rich and oaky to lean and lemony, chardonnay is a chameleon of many colors. From the Sonoma Coast appellation, admittedly a vast area, styles also range, but the coastal influence of many of the vineyard sites typically impacts acidity levels in positive ways, producing wines, even when made in a richer style, of balance and mouth-watering minerality, layered in flavors of lemon, apple and pear….

Many of the best from the coolest of cool-climate sites have the acid, structure and purity of fruit to make them luxurious and elegant. Here are some producers to seek out.

Estate Vineyard Chardonnay Review: The winery is making some of the best wines of its life, following up a stellar 2011 lineup with bottles of dreamy 2012-vintage pinot noir, syrah and chardonnay. The 2012 Estate Vineyard Chardonnay ($58) hails from Fort Ross-Seaview, high atop a ridge near two other top vineyards, Wayfarer and Hirsch. Complex and singularly cool-climate, gamey and floral in aromas, it offers crisp citrus-adorned flavor buoyed by tangy acidity. Also look for the 2012 Ritchie Vineyard and Zephyr Farms Vineyard chardonnays. Red Car’s winery and tasting room off Graton Road in Sebastopol is a good place to try them all.

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