California Chardonnay wine Reviews

By | March 8, 2015

Introduction

california chardonnay reviewsCalifornia Chardonnays are now equalling or even surpassing the quality of the French Chardonnays! I would like to repeat a passage from my blog about US Chardonnay wine regions. French wine experts rated Californian Chardonnay, during a blind tasting, higher than the celebrated Burgundy wines, and this led to the success of the Californian white wine. Meanwhile, California not only can compete with France in quality, but it has also surpassed the French production of Chardonnay. Thanks to the ripeness of the grapes Californian Chardonnay tastes unusually  full and is perfect for drinking with meals. See separate Napa Valley wine reviews here and Sonoma County wine reviews here

For an explanation of the ratings provided below, please click here.

Bounty Hunters Wines

All these great wines and more can be bought through Bounty Hunter Wines. Who are they? Founder and CEO Mark Steven Pope explains:

For twenty years now, we’ve made it our business to track down the hottest wines the world has to offer. Let’s face it, these are challenging times, and the price-to-value ratio has never been more important as we seek to hold on to a luxnapa valley wineury experience that doesn’t break the bank.

As merchants, negotiant and vintners, we are afforded special access to a treasure trove of great wine.We taste between five and six thousand wines every year and have long-standing relationships with some of the world’s best wineries and winemakers.Consider us your ultimate Wine Country insiders. We live here in Napa, work with the local winemakers and grape growers and eat and drink with them in our Wine Bar & Smokin’ BBQ digs down town. We often get the early scoop on what’s really happening in the wineries, vineyards and cellars (lucky you). This means we have access to the truly ‘great stuff’ long before most other sources even know about it. Fact is, we stay ahead of the curve and find the wines you want before you know you want them”.

What guarantees do you have?

Bounty Hunter Rare Wine & Provisions wants you to be happy with every item that you purchase from us. “If you don’t like it, we want it back”. We are glad to refund the purchase price of your item in full, provided that the item meets our Return criteria.

What do the ratings mean?

Score Explanation
95–100 A classic great wine
90–94 An outstanding wine of superior character and style
85–89 A very good wine with special qualities
80-84 A good solid, well-made wine
75–79 A mediocre wine, drinkable but may have minor flaws
50–74 Not recommended

Here I would like to give you the chance to try out some of these beautiful Californian wines by reviewing them for you. Click banners and then white wine>chardonnay>usa.

1) Product: Donum ‘Estate Grown’ Chardonnay Carneros

Where to buy best: Bounty Hunter california chardonnay reviews

Vintage: 2013

Bottle: 750 ml

Region: Carneros

Rating: 89/100

Price: $54.95 Purchase 12 bottles or more and receive a 10% discount.

Wine Tasting Notes

With minimal oak influence, and no malolactic fermentation, this rich Chardonnay is a feast for the senses. Pale gold in colour, and decidedly tropical in character, this has striking aromas of lemon, green apple, and melon. The palate is bright and spicy, with lime, papaya and star fruit. This is just knock-out juice that tastes great now but will improve with cellaring.

Wine Maker’s Notes

By now you’ve heard it so often you may feel like you’ve been beat over the head with it, but we’re going to say it again: great wine really is about great vineyards. When it comes to growing Burgundian grape varieties like Pinot Noir, the 200-acre Donum Ranch is one of those truly great properties. When viticulturalist Anne Moller-Racke discovered this cool climate site in the late 1980s, she instantly recognized its potential and set to work planting 70 acres with a variety of Pinot Noir clones, including several California “heirlooms” from specific vineyards like Calera, Hanzell and Chalone. The wines have been chart-toppers from the beginning, consistently garnering high points from Parker and Spectator and selling out vintage after vintage. Put a few bottles in your cellar – you’ll be glad you did!

Buy this exceptional wine and save by clicking the banner below.

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2) Product: Ceja Vineyards Chardonnay Carneros 

Where to buy best: Bounty Hunter california chardonnay reviews

Vintage: 2013

Bottle: 750 ml

Region: Carneros

Rating: 82/100

Price: $35.95 Purchase 12 bottles or more and receive a 10% discount.

Tasting Notes

Longtime vineyard masters of the Carneros region, the Ceja family have knocked it out of the park with their latest Chardonnay. High-toned citrus, green apple, ripe pear and honeysuckle make for a lively and fresh presence on the palate, with a rich and creamy texture leaving nothing to be desired. Crisp, tangy and energetic, this is exactly what California Chardonnay wants to be.

Wine Makers Notes

If there’s a winery story more emblematic of The American Dream than Ceja Vineyards, we would love to hear about it. The story of Ceja begins in the 1950s, when patriarch and Mexican immigrant Pablo Ceja began working in the vineyards of the Napa Valley. By 1967, his wife and 6 children had joined him in St. Helena, and the family threw themselves into working for area wineries, and eventually settled in Carneros.

In 1983, Pablo, Juanita, son Armando, and son Pedro and his wife Amelia pooled all of their life savings and bought 15 acres in Carneros. By 1986, 13 acres of Pinot Noir were planted. In 1999, they launched Ceja Vineyards as a winery. Today the Cejas own and control 113 acres, comprised of 2 vineyards in Sonoma, 1 vineyard in Petaluma, and 1 vineyard in Napa. Known primarily for their outstanding Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, it is immensely gratifying to be a part of the success of this all-hands-on-deck, dizzying family affair of a winery.

Buy this great Chardonnay and save by clicking the banner below.

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3) Product: Mer Soleil ‘Reserve’ Chardonnay Santa Barbara 

Where to buy best: Bounty Hunter 

Vintage: 2013

Bottle: 750 mlcalifornia chardonnay reviews

Region: Santa Barbara

Rating: 89/100

Reg.: $27.95 Purchase 12 bottles or more and receive a 10% discount.

Wine Tasting Notes

If you’re looking for a rich, vibrant Chardonnay to saturate every corner of your senses, welcome home. Charlie’s effort from sunny Santa Barbara is tropical to the core, with notes of pineapple, mango, yellow cherries, and Mirabelle plums. Rich, persistent, with a creamy, spicy finish, this is a Chardonnay for hedonists, period.

Wine Makers Notes

The Wagner family tradition that began with Napa’s Caymus Vineyards continues with third-generation grower and winemaker Charlie II in Monterey. Blessed with one of the coolest, driest weather patterns possible in the Santa Lucia Highlands, perfectly ripe grapes and long maturation are almost a given every year. The fruit is always sublime. The real trick takes place in the winery where two fundamentally different vinification techniques produce two radically different Chardonnays.

The namesake Mer Soleil gets treated as a high-octane California Chardonnay. An ample amount of malolactic fermentation softens the acidity and barrel aging adds several seductive layers to the presentation in the glass. With Silver, it’s the mirror opposite. Same vineyards, same fruit, but the cellar program here involves concrete vessels instead of wood, and the emphasis is on vibrancy. Everyone seems to be in one camp or another, but whichever your stylistic preference, rest assured that these two are a whole lot of fun to drink.

Buy this out standing wine and save by clicking on the banner below.

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4) Product: Foxen ‘Bien Nacido Vineyard Block #UU’ Chardonnay 

Best place to buyBounty Huntercalifornia chardonnay reviews

Vintage: 2014

Bottle: 750 ml

Region: Santa Maria Valley

Rating: 89/100

Reg.: $34.99

Wine Tasting Notes

The 2014 Foxen “Bien Nacido Block UU” Chardonnay from Santa Barbara County is off the proverbial tether. Full-bodied, fruit-driven, just a few pineapple rings shy of being over the top, the wine caused Antonio Galloni to lose his cool: “This wine shows distinctly tropical, Riesling-inflected notes… White peach, ash, slate, pear and crushed rocks show superb energy allied to power in a Chardonnay with searing intensity, fabulous balance and tons of personality.

Wine Maker’s Notes

We made our first wine in a plastic tub. Stirred it with a baseball bat. It was a senior project at Cal Poly that very quickly became a reason to be. In 1981, we bought the winery’s first vineyard and two years later released our first two wines: a Pinot Noir and a Cabernet Sauvignon. Our unconventional roots made it possible for us to become who we are today–the leading luxury winery on California’s Central Coast. We named the winery Wild Horse as a tribute to the herds of mustangs that once roamed the hills above the vineyards. And quite possibly we also had in mind the Cal Poly mascot – a galloping horse.

This is another example of a classic Chardonnay. Buy it and save by clicking the banner below.

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Please note that the category Product Reviews contains more reviews of Chardonnay wines from the best regions in the world. Another California Chardonnay wine review is added here.

Feel free to leave a comment and/or ask a question and I will come back to you within 24 hours.

 

8 thoughts on “California Chardonnay wine Reviews

  1. Merceadez

    I love Chardonnay and have been drinking it ever since I was legal. I had no idea you could purchase wine on Amazon. Man! I can get good wine strait to my doorstep no need to go to the store? Thanks for telling me that!

    I think someone else told me that Californian wine was just as good as french wine now. That is good because I prefer to put my money back into the US economy whenever I can. Great article and full of info. Thanks again!

    Reply
    1. Jerry Post author

      Hi Mercaedez, yes California wines can compete with the best in the world. Especially the Chardonnays from Napa Valley and Sonoma County are top rated. You can see my reviews here ad here. Cheers, Jerry

      Reply
  2. Mandi Champ

    Hi Jerry,

    This is well written post. I appreciate all the time and work that went into this. I have never been much of a wine drinker because I feel lost standing in the store trying to figure out which one to buy. This helps a lot. Do you find that most people either love it or dislike it? What would you recommend for someone like myself who has a hard time enjoying the taste, but would like to enjoy a glass with friends every now and then?

    Reply
    1. Jerry Post author

      Thanks Mandi, Chardonnay is a wine with many varieties, oaked and unoaked, produced in both cooler and warmer climates. Hence there are many tastes and I think that there is a Chardonnay for everyone. If you like the fresh, light and fruity ones, then go for an unoaked Chardonnay like a French Chablis or the Acacia as reviewed. If you like full bodied, smoky and or buttery tastes, you should go for the oaked ones, especially from Australia. Note that there are many more world class California (Napa, Sonoma) wines in my review list here. Just enjoy and let me know if you need more help. Cheers, Jerry

      Reply
  3. Dominic

    Hi Jerry, thank you for sharing your knowledge on the finest California Chardonnay wine! I have to admit that I am not too familiar with the wines from USA but you have opened my eyes with your post. I am really pleasantly suprised and impressed that California Chardonnay has equalled and even surpassed the famous wines from France. For my next trip to tax-free wine shop, I will definitely be looking for these amazing Californian wine especially the ONEHOPE Chardonnay 😉

    Reply
    1. Jerry Post author

      Hi Dominic, if California was a country it would rank as the fourth wine producing one. It certainly produces the most Chardonnays in the world, with particularly Sonoma County and Napa Valley producing Chardonnays that have worldwide acclaim. You can see a list of all my Chardonnay reviews here. Cheers, Jerry

      Reply
  4. TheDopestMatrix

    That Onehope Chardonnay looks amazing! I’ve never seen anything that looks so mystique! How long typically does a wine stay out until it’s ready to drink? I know they need to ferment I just don’t know much about it! The other one that looks really good is the Buena Vista, that one looks tasty!

    TheDopestMatrix

    Reply
    1. Jerry Post author

      Hi Matt, yes there are some really amazing Chardonnays around and in the end I would like to capture them all. California is one of those upcoming regions that produce world standard Chardonnays. Especially Napa Valley and Sonoma County, which are separately covered on my site, can compete worldwide. Cheers, Jerry

      Reply

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