Home > Good, ModGood, Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > A Variety of Californian Chardonnay

A Variety of Californian Chardonnay


As much as I like German Riesling Jenn likes Californian Chardonnay so I am always in search of a wine which may be drunk by the glass.  At the cheap end you cannot go wrong with the Kendall-Jackson, Vintner’s Reserve.  There is a bit of a paint-by-numbers aspect to the wine but still it is a rather drinkable $11 big Chardonnay.  The best value of the bunch is the J Vineyards, Chardonnay.  Lovely flavor, texture, acidity, and just a hint of wood coming out in the aftertaste.  We have already drunk through several bottles.  The most expensive and rather interesting was the Fort Ross made by Jeff Pisoni.  While there is lovely bright yellow fruit there is an attractive, pleasurable mouthfeel which kept grabbing my attraction.  This is a powerful wine with plenty of barrel notes poking through.  I suspect it might be best in half a year.  I recommend you check out the vineyard images on the website.  The vines are less than one mile from the Pacific Ocean!  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages and Unwined.

2011 Kendall-Jackson, Chardonnay, Vintner’s Reserve – $11
This wine is 100% Chardonnay from estate vineyards in Monterey, Santa Barbera, and Sonoma Counties.  It was both fermented then aged on the lees in French and American oak barrels. TA 7.0 g/L, pH 3.35, Alcohol 13.5%.  The color was a light golden-yellow.  The light to medium strength nose revealed toasty, yellow fruit.  In the mouth there were medium bodied, ripe yellow fruit from the start.  There was also a vein of apple-like acidity on the tip and sides of the tongue.  It was a little grippy before some toast notes in the finish and the teeth-coating sweet spices in the aftertaste.  It has ticked all of the check boxes.  ** Now-2014.

2008 J Vineyards, Chardonnay, Russian River Valley – $20
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from both estate and other vineyards.  It was fermented with indigenous and Burgundian yeasts then both fermented and aged in 40% new Burgundian oak barrels.  Malolactic fermentation took six months followed by 12 months of aging.  TA 6.0 g/L, pH 3.50, Alcohol 14.3%.  The color is a light to medium yellow.  The nose bore toasty yellow fruit and ripe citrus aromas.  In the mouth there was initially focused yellow citrus fruit with acidity.  Then with air the flavors took on weight and expanded in the mouth.  Low-lying ripe and spiced fruit left sweet spices on the tongue.  There was a toasty aftertaste with good acidity.  Good Value! *** Now-2013.

2008 Mount Eden Vineyards, Chardonnay, Saratoga Cuvee, Santa Cruz Mountains – $20
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from Mount Eden and Domaine Eden vineyards.  Alcohol 14%.  The color was medium yellow.  The light to medium strength nose revealed yellow fruit, apples, and barrel notes.  The mouth followed the nose but with more pineapple and acidity from the beginning.  The flavors were higher pitched then a little creamy towards the finish.  The aftertaste had some spicy spices, toast, and a good mouthfeel.  ** Now.

2007 Tandem, Chardonnay, Sangiacomo Vineyards, Sonoma Coast – $30
This wine is 100% Chardonnay from the defunct Tandem which is now La Follette.  Alcohol 14%.  The color was a light+ golden-yellow.  The light maturing nose revealed heavy yellow fruit and wood notes.  In the mouth there was a luscious mouthfeel of buttery, round yellow fruit with stood up with sweet spices and ripeness.  Supported by integrated acidity there was a little toughness in the finish along with some toast notes in the aftertaste.  A bit flamboyant.  ** Now-2013.

2009 Fort Ross, Chardonnay, Fort Ross Vineyard, Sonoma Coast – $35
This wine is 100% Chardonnay sourced from the new Fort Ross-Sea View AVA at altitudes of 1200-1700 feet.  It is 65% old Hyde and 35% old Wente selections which underwent primary, malolactic, and 10 months aging in 30% new and 70% neutral French oak barrels.   Alcohol 14.5%.  The color was a light golden straw which was slightly cloudy.  The nose was light to medium with yellow fruit and wood.  In the mouth there was yellow fruit at first with a wood note then a tropical bit with a lovely mouthfeel.  There were spices, white peach, bright fruit, acidity, and a great mouthfeel.  With air this wine remained round and supple from the start with glycerine texture and wood toast in the aftertaste.  ***(*) 2013-2015.

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