What I love — what I really love about boutique wineries is that “single vineyard” is (often) a norm. And, I don’t want to be a wine snob or anything, but I’ve had the opportunity to taste the difference between an “appellation series,” a “vineyard series,” and “single vineyard series” as it pertains to the same winery and same varietal. And I have to say, the attention to detail given to the single vineyard series — whether from a major player or an up-and-comer — is astronomical. So you can imagine that when a small-lot winery, like Lombardi wines, stakes its whole business on two varietals (PN and Chard) that those vineyards are going to be quality sources and that the winemaker is going to take the utmost care to respect the fruit during production. So then it becomes — what I really love about boutique wineries is the quality of wine.

About the Wine: Tony’s been connected to wine his whole life. He grew up in Sonoma County and, after receiving a degree in business management, one of his first jobs was in hospitality for Clos du Bois. That was back in 1998. Since then he’s become fully immersed in life as a wine ambassador, predominantly in public relations for major wine companies. As of 2015, he now runs his own boutique consulting company that offers marketing and PR services to small to mid-size wine companies.

His expertise in boutique winemaking comes from his own startup winery, Lombardi Wines, founded in 2013. Everywhere on the Lombardi website reads that this pursuit is “a pursuit to honor his family’s rich history of wine, food and tradition.” Well, little-known fact, Tony’s great-grandfather, Nazzareno Lombardi, and Robert Mondavi’s father, Cesare, emigrated from the same town in Italy in 1912 and worked alongside each other in  the iron ore mines in Michigan and Minnesota. Tony’s family ultimately settled in Petaluma, hence his passion for the Sonoma Coast where he sources the grapes for his wines.

Like I said, Lombardi wines is a small-lot winery, producing about 400 total cases annually. He only sells once a year to his mailing list, and a select few retailers and restaurants with whom he has close relationships with. 2017 celebrates Lombardi wines fourth vintage.

Lombardi Wines 2014 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes harvested from 3 Starrs Vineyard in Sonoma. It was barrel fermented in 100% neutral French oak for 16 months.

Winemaker: Cabell Coursey

14% ABV

Flavor Profile: Lombardi Wines 2014 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is a mellow yellow apple shade in the glass. There’s an immediate aroma paralleling that visual of soft yellow fruits: peach, apricot, banana. There’s an essence of oak, but there’s nothing that’s overly buttery or creamy on the nose. It’s more a floral softness of plush pollen wafting in the wind.

If you take a deep breath in, you’ll also find a background of acidity that hangs in the nose and at the bottom of the chest.

On the palate, the Chardonnay is initially quite smooth on the tongue with a thin, but strong line of kicky acidity. The aromas sensed on the nose follow through in the flavors, with an added essence of newly peeled tree bark on the finish. In fact, I started to wonder — are there some tannins in here? I wouldn’t call this wine full bodied, but it definitely has a unique (and much appreciated) structure.

With the luminous yellow color, the fruit and floral flavors, the tree bark finish, and that firm, but friendly texture — I don’t know how else to describe this wine other than a fun, warm, sunny day in a field of daisies. My wine notes read:

No I was not tipsy when writing these notes

Food Pairing: I enjoyed Lombardi Wines 2014 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is grilled swordfish and coconut rice topped with fresh mango and spiced almonds. The texture of the wine did well to enhance the meatiness of the swordfish. Meanwhile the smoke from the grill and the spice of the nuts enhanced that woodsy-earthiness that seems to be hiding in the back of the wine. Perfect pairing? Absolutely. But I’d also like to try this wine with a shellfish pasta coated in light white wine sauce.

More Info: I received Lombardi Wines 2014 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay as a sample for review. (Cheers, Tony!) Retail: $40. For more information about Lombardi Wines and to purchase wine directly, please visit the Lombardi Wines website.

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