Category Archives: Chardonnay

I’m Thankful For … Thomas Fogarty Wines

At this holiday season, the kind of wines I am most thankful for are those made by dedicated, small producers in relatively tiny quantities based on particular, distinctive vineyard sites. One that I visited in recent months that not only fills this bill but also makes the kind of food friendly wines that are ideal for the holidays is Thomas Fogarty Winery. Continue reading

Posted in California Wine, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Oregon’s Delicious, Cooler Climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

Pinots from Oregon tend to have some of the delicacy and minerality that red Burgundy is known for as well as some of the ripe red fruit most typically found in California Pinot. Their alcohol levels are generally much closer to those of France (13% or so) rather than California (typically 14-15%). Many of them also exhibit a savory aroma reminiscent of forest floor or underbrush, what the French call “sous bois.” Continue reading

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California Wines Showing More Balance: SF Family Winemakers Tasting

What was noteworthy for me among the wines I tasted was a decline in the overripe versions of these wines that had come to dominate production over the last two decades. Due, I’m sure, to the relative coolness of the last few vintages in California, as well as to a conscious aim for higher acid, more balanced wines by an increasing number of winemakers here, I tasted many more balanced, lower alcohol Cabernets this year. Continue reading

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, California Wine, Chardonnay, Napa, Paso Robles, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Russian River, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz Mountains, Sonoma, Sonoma Coast, Syrah, Zinfandel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Visit to Varner: Superb Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnays

I’ve previously written here about the long lived, complex Chardonnays of Mount Eden, and on my blog about the great Chards from Rhys and Ridge. The other Chardonnays from this region in the same league come from a vineyard in Portola Valley planted by identical twin brothers, Bob and Jim Varner. The keys to the Varners’ terrific Chardonnays are meticulous farming and very gentle winemaking techniques. Continue reading

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Sta. Rita Hills: Young Appellation Fulfilling its Promise

Based on last week’s tasting of 72 wines from this appellation, I am happy to report this region is definitely starting to fulfill its promise as a source of characterful, balanced and terroir-driven wines—from flavorful Chardonnay and Viognier to minerally and complex Pinot Noir and Syrah. I was, in fact, thoroughly delighted with the wines overall. Continue reading

Posted in California Wine, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Rosé, Santa Barbara, Syrah, Winemakers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

California Wine Gets More Diverse: The Balance Movement

It’s an exciting time to be following the wine industry in California. Things are changing. The dominance of big, fruit-forward, super-ripe wines is starting to fade. The diversity of wine styles available to the consumer is growing. This includes lower alcohol, higher acid, more minerally wines that winemakers are striving for by picking earlier, growing in cooler locations, and using less new oak, among other things. Continue reading

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Mount Eden: One of California’s Oldest and Greatest Producers

Mount Eden produces some of the most admirable, consistent and ageworthy expressions of terroir to be found anywhere in California. Their wines—Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon from the estate vineyard at the top of Table Mountain, 2000 feet above the Silicon Valley town of Saratoga–have gone from strength to strength in the past two decades. Continue reading

Posted in Cabernet Sauvignon, California Wine, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, Winemakers | Tagged , , | 3 Comments