Tag Archives: Chardonnay


Now that we are blessed with the occasional sunny and warm afternoon, I find myself starting to move towards the lighter reds and heavier whites.  I have always been a seasonal wine drinker, for the most part, sipping on whites throughout the summer and almost only drinking the big reds when it’s uncomfortably cold outside.  So, what I want lately is a big white with some body and oomph to it.2014 Matchbook “The Arsonist” California Chardonnay

If The Arsonist bottle isn’t a clear enough indicator of the style of wine that’s inside, perhaps the bold label and name are.  The bottle is heavy, with a deep punt, wide body, and thick lip.  I love the bottle.

I love the wine as well.  This 100% chardonnay from the Dunnigan Hills AVA is golden yellow with slow legs. The nose brings honeysuckle, Bartlett Pear, coconut, and toast.  I immediately noticed the smooth and round body, soft on the palate with pineapple, melon, and honey.

There is a nice undertone of minerality in the wine as well, creating balance so that it isn’t an oak/butter bomb.  The finish is coating and creamy with good length and a very subtle smokiness. I would pair this with shrimp alfredo, rotisserie chicken, or grilled salmon. I tried it with a slice of almond pound cake which I think worked very well. The sweetness of the cake really brought out the subtle minerality of the wine.

Frequent stirring of the lees, known as bâtonnage, is what gives this wine the smooth and creamy roundness that I so enjoyed (along with malolactic fermentation, of course, but that’s another post).  Lees are a by-product of fermentation, specifically when yeast cells are destroyed by autolysis.  These cell particles precipitate in the bottom of wine vats while aging, and are sometimes left to rest so that the wine can age “on the lees,” or sur lie in order to extract yeasty aromas and flavors.

Other times, winemakers will frequently stir these lees in order to extract more flavor and to create the creamy, buttery mouthfeel.  If you like this quality in a wine, look for “lees” somewhere in the wine description.  This is one method that some Pinot gris Producers in Oregon use in order to make a different style of wine from the grape than you would typically find in Italy, where it is known as Pinot Grigio instead.

Wine Enthusiast gives this wine 91 points and an “Editor’s Choice” designation.  Vivino users rate it 3.9 out of 5 points with an average price of $22.

Cost: $14.99

Krunch Rating: 90 points


Costco SKU #: 1135136

Starmont Carneros Chardonnay

Starmont Carneros Chardonnay, Napa, California – 2012

Starmont Carneros ChardonnayThis Chardonnay was just under $13 so I thought that sounded appealing for a ’12 Carneros.  And after cracking it open, I realized that it was indeed very appealing.  This is a lovely, balanced Chardonnay that we enjoyed outside on a mild spring evening.  Starmont is part of the Merryvale wine portfolio.

Citrus, orange peel aromas on the nose lead to flavors of lemon, butterscotch, a touch of vanilla with bright acidity.  A little oak on the finish but nothing overbearing.  This is Chardonnay made just like I like it, clean and fruit forward with just a mild oak influence on the finish.  Great versatile food pairing wine even though we enjoyed it quite a bit on its own. Happy to pair up with Salmon on the grill. When the time hits and the garden is in full bloom, all the grilled veggies will pair nicely with this.

Costco item number: 172805

Krunch Rating: 89 Points

Jarvis, Finch Hollow, Chardonnay – 2014

Jarvis, Finch Hollow, Chardonnay, Napa Valley, California – 2014

211574_frBright medium bright gold color. Lively, roasted aromas and flavors of nuts, grilled apples and citrus, mocha, and minerals with a soft, lively, fruity medium-full body and a tingling, complex, medium-long lemon and pineapple gelato, white chocolate mint, spice cake, and cedar finish with chewy tannins and heavy oak. A superbly flavorful chardonnay with big, brilliantly integrated oak.
A great pairing with Seafood or Light meat such as Turkey, Chicken or Pork.

Krunch Rating: 97 Points

Hagafen, Chardonnay – 2014

Hagafen, Chardonnay, Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley, California – 2014

212602_frGolden yellow color. Rich, tropical, buttery aromas of coconut buttercream, pineapple cake, and nougat with a supple, vibrant, fruity medium-to-full body and a sleek, complex, spiced apples, lemon curd, kiwi, and melon finish with heavy oak. A big, oaky, 14.6% , creamy old school style Napa chardonnay.
A great pairing with Poached Salmon with Lemon Butter , Tuna Casserole, Boiled Lobster or any Shellfish.

Corkscrew Estate Vineyard , Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, California – 2014

Corkscrew Estate Vineyard , Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, California – 2014

212656_frLight gold color. Bright, roasted aromas of roasted nuts, grilled apples and pineapples, brown butter, and pickling spices with a satiny, tangy, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, complex, medium-long caramelized citrus, vanilla toffee, and delicate spices finish with fine tannins and moderate oak. A big, brawny chardonnay with lots of tangy fruit and complimentary spicy, smoky oak.
A great pairing with Orange Chicken, Roast Turkey, Boiled Lobster.
Krunch Rating: 89 points

Ch. Ste Michelle ‘Indian Wells’ Chardonnay 2014

Indian-WellsChateau Ste. Michelle. This is not a boutique wine: CSM is the state’s oldest (and one of its largest) wineries. The winemakers at CSM know wine making (especially Riesling and Chardonnay). This particular chardonnay wine is from their Indian Wells vineyard and is one of their “premium wines”. It is an excellent value proposition. (According to Cellartracker.com, the same wine goes for $13-17 per bottle). So the Costco buyers should have secured a decent discount.

There’s a lot to like here. Light straw gold in color, Butterscotch and pineapple on the nose; echoed on the rich palate. It is close to, but not quite, the California buttery style of Chardonnay. Its acidity is medium minus, but good for rich “white wine” foods. It has a pleasant warm oaky nose, buttery and tasty on the palate, some citrus notes. We call this a Goldilocks wine, as it doesn’t have too much of anything – just a very balanced, lighter style of chardonnay that’s very easy to drink and would be a safe recommendation to about any chardonnay fan. This is a very nice wine, currently at an excellent price point, that is produced by a winery that knows how to produce a reliable and tasty product.

Krunch Rating: 88
Costco Item #: 449644