As a long time red wine lover, I always amazed when I taste a white wine that blows me away. These are the wines that I will think about the next day and plan how to get more of because the thought of never having that wine again it simply too distressing. This happened last night with a Chardonnay that was exceptional.
The wine was made from grapes grown in Carneros which is a region at the southern end of Napa and Sonoma counties. The cooler climate makes it suitable to growing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. While I have visited Carneros a few times, I have not yet visited Saintsbury but I have tried their Pinot Noirs before and they are good. Many California Pinots are too fruity for me so I had not been eager to visit the winery until now.
I took a photo which did not come out terribly well but is does contain the essential information.
Why was this wine so special? It was perfectly balanced which means there was not too much of any one element. It was smooth and creamy, but just enough. It had lovely fruit essence of pear and apples with enough acidity to pair really well with a smoked salmon spread. It was not over the top as many California Chards can be from too much oak and malolactic fermentation that leads to strong vanilla and popcorn flavors. It had just enough of everything and not too much of anything.
Another factor that likely contributed to my love of this wine was its age. It was a 2006 wine which means it had a good 5 years in the bottle which appears to have really benefited the wine. It is rare to see a white from California sold at retail after this many years.
I will think about this wine for a while and can assure you that if I see it in the store it will be headed home with me. It is on the pricier side for a white wine but I think this one is worth it.
Retail price $40 but my hosts paid less for the bottle we had
Rating: 4 out of 4 – highly recommend