I decided to play a fun game with myself. Having received the newest Chardonnay releases from Talley Vineyards, each of which highlights a separate vineyard in California’s Central Coast, I wanted to see if I could taste the difference between each. The short answer to that question: yes, yes I can.
This post is entitled ChardonNay or ChardonYay because, in case you haven’t picked up from previous posts, I personally have a hard time with the variety. Chardonnay is like putty in a winemaker’s hands—it will mold or melt, form or fragment depending on how much he or she wants to “do” with it. It easily picks up on oak barrel spices; delivers the toast and bread-y notes from lees aging; and if ever there was a variety that can speak to the aromas and flavors from malolactic conversion, it is Chardonnay. Indeed, the grape can be easily manipulated and, oft times (especially in the new world), over-worked.
So, I was not only curious if I could taste the difference between the various vineyards, I was curious if I’d have a preference between them. The short answer to that question: yes, yes I did.
I can’t say that I’ve tasted a LOT of wines from SLO. But if Talley Vineyards is any indication to the vibrancy of Pinot Noir this region produces, then I will definitely be tasting a lot more. This, here, is a review of their estate Pinot Noir, a blend of two estate vineyards. Lovely, well-rounded, and (again) vibrant. Hey, Tally, think I can get a sip of a single vineyard? 😉(more…)
I am so excited to finally get a sip of Riverbench — a winery out of Santa Maria, California I’ve heard so much about but had yet to taste. Even if you’re not familiar with the winery itself, you may recognize the name, as many iconic wineries have sourced grapes from this little piece of Santa Barbara County since the vineyard was established in 1973. The Riverbench Vineyard consists of 115 acres of Pinot Noir and 15 acres of Chardonnay. The team recently planted a few acres of Pinot Meunier, which they hope to have ready to play with this year.
I first came into contact with Wrath Wines during a Pinot Noir-focused tasting in SF. I was immediately drawn to the combination of elegance and rusticity they were able to capture into their wines. Indeed, working with fruit from Monterey County’s Santa Lucia Highland AVA means working with some seriously structured fruit — even Pinot Noirs can be a bit harsh. Not so here.
I was delighted to find them in my package of SIP Certified wines and have the chance to dive deep into the varietal that (I think) they do so well.
This week I’m focusing on wines that are Sustainable In Practice (SIP) Certified. According to the non-profit organization, SIP Certified is a rigorous sustainable vineyard and winery certification. To be certified a vineyard or winery must be committed to “standards based on science and expert input, independent verification, transparency, and absence of conflict of interest.”
The rigorousness of the program has earned it the reputation of being the gold standard for sustainable certification. Let’s learn a bit more…