From the Wine Cellar: California Whites, Mostly Chardonnay

Staff Writer
A roundup of California white wines to start spring

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Warm days bring out our desire for chilled white wines to sip or to have at the table. Here are a half-dozen new chardonnays from California along with a lone sauvignon blanc to start us off.

2011 Clos la Chance Central Coast sauvignon blanc ($11). This wine is spicier and less grassy than many sauvignons, a nice touch, but it also tastes a little watery. Takeaway: A basic white with no bells or whistles.

2010 Gary Farrell Russian River Selection chardonnay ($31). Creamy and juicy with some nice stone-fruit nectars, hints of crème fraîche around the edges, and some mild barrel toast and a hint of tannins in the finish. Takeaway: Yum! Very enjoyable wine with good complexity.

2011 Pfendler Sonoma County chardonnay ($38). Very fragrant with lots of toast along with some jelly beans and vanilla. Falls a bit short at the end. Takeaway: A pretty wine that misses a couple of beats.

2011 Spellbound California chardonnay ($15). Rich with lightly buttery apple flavors along with a touch of jammy grapey-ness in the end. Could use a bit more crispness in the finish. Takeaway: A nice wine for the price.

2011 Landmark "Overlook" Sonoma County chardonnay ($24). Creamy oak with good apple-y fruit and lots of nuttiness. Takeaway: Nice, somewhat complex chard that should please most palates.

2011 Truchard Carneros chardonnay ($26). Pineapple on the nose with juicy orange and pineapple flavors and a crisp finish. Good aftertaste. Takeaway: A bit of a tweener — not big and oaky, but too tropical to be Burgundian.

2011 Matchbox "Giguiere" Dunnigan Hills Musque chardonnay ($16). Sweet and spicy. Complex fruits like a fresh-cut marmalade — cloves and other pastry spices, flavors of applesauce, semi-preserved apricot, and various citrus notes. Somewhat heavy on the palate. The musque refers to a particular clone of chard. Takeaway: Let’s face it — this is more novelty wine than a straight food wine, and there is nothing wrong with that if that’s your pleasure.

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