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Following is the list of the Chardonnays numbered 1 through 6 in the order in which they were tasted. Each bottling reflects its own price bracket: under five, five to ten, ten to fifteen, fifteen to twenty, twenty to twenty-five and twenty-five to thirty. Prices and notes on the wines are as follows.
#1 Aquinas 2006 Chardonnay, Napa
This wine has aromas of lemon peel, apricots, white peaches, and vanilla infused tea. The flavors are reminiscent of lemon crème brulee, peach yogurt, and citrus sorbet with notes of fresh cream and subtle oak.
#2 Edna Valley Vineyard 2006 Chardonnay, San Luis Obispo
This Chardonnay offers smoky aromas of vanillin oak and sweet spice balanced by white peach, pineapple and citrus notes. On the palate, full, round flavors of white peach and citrus are accompanied by a subtle minerality on the long finish.
#3 Crane Lake Chardonnay 2006 Chardonnay, California
There is nothing complicated here, just a light and fruity wine, for everyday sipping. There are layers of apple and citrus with a nice easy balance.
#4 Jordan Vineyard & Winery 2005 Chardonnay, Russian River
Fermentation was carried out in small French oak barrels (37% new) and aged with extended sur lie contact for five months to add an understated, creamy texture to the mid-palate. Partial malolactic fermentation permitted the wine to retain its natural, crisp acidity, a hallmark of Russian River Valley fruit. This acidity contributes to the mineral flintiness and clean finish of the wine. The citrus and mineral bouquet includes delicate aromas of crisp green apple, kiwi, honey and lightly toasted oak. The balance of green apple fruit and crisp acidity pervade the long lasting flavors.
#5 J Lohr Vineyard 2005 Chardonnay, “October Night”, Arroyo Seco
The October Night bottling is redolent with aromas of pear, lime custard, peach pie and white flowers. The Burgundian winemaking techniques, including alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in barrel with lees stirring and extended aging, contribute a complex bouquet of honey, graham and vanilla, and amplify an already quite viscous wine. This is an enticingly delicious Chardonnay with complex aromas and flavors balanced by palate cleansing acidity.
#6 Cambria Winery 2005 Chardonnay, Katherine’s Vineyard, Santa Maria
Katherine’s Vineyard Chardonnay is aged sur lies (on the yeast lees) and stirred one to two times a month to deepen the texture and develop mouth-feel. In the mouth the wine’s texture is smooth with the taste of pear, citrus blossom, vanilla, and just the right amount of sweet oak. This is not an overpowering wine, one with a lasting impression of spicy oak and a crisp finish.