Wine of the Week – 93 Point Rated, Classic California Chardonnay – How in the world do we still have good stock on a world class, 93 point rated Chardonnay from one of California’s most legendary producers? We’re not sure how or why, but we’re 100% sure that this is the California Chardonnay deal of the year! If you’re a fan of that classic style of California Chardonnay (rich, creamy, toasty, buttery), you’re going to want to stock up on this one while we’re offering it at one of the best prices in the country. It’s the 2012 Mount Eden Chardonnay “Wolff Vineyard,” and it’s our new Wine of the Week. Here’s the deal:
Mount Eden Vineyards is one of our country’s most historically significant wineries. Perched at nearly 2,000 feet in the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA about 50 miles south of San Francisco, the winery was founded in 1945 and is recognized as one of the original “boutique” wineries. Their legacy of producing small lots of highly expressive and complex, estate bottled Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs is the longest in California.
Since 1981, winery owner and winemaker Jeffery Patterson has steered the ship at Mount Eden, and his philosophy is simple — good, healthy grapes make good wine. Thus, the emphasis at Mount Eden has always been more in the vineyard than in the winemaking process. This European, terroir-driven sensibility to wine production that has been embraced by a legion of young producers (see In Pursuit of Balance and The New California Wine) has been in place at Mount Eden for over fifty years.
Since 1985, Mount Eden has produced a Chardonnay with fruit they purchase from the 55 acre, sustainably farmed Wolff Vineyard (named after owner and farmer Jean-Pierre Wolff) in California’s Edna Valley. This region enjoys one of the longest growing seasons in the world, and this characteristic is especially favorable for the noble Chardonnay grape, which develops great nuances of flavor while retaining its elegant nature. Combine that with the fact that the Wolff Vineyard is one of the oldest Chardonnay vineyards in the state (it was planted in 1976), and you have the perfect recipe for greatness.
These old, low yielding vines produce small amounts of intensely aromatic and flavorful fruit, and the winemaking process is essentially the same as with Mount Eden’s Estate Chardonnay. Fermentation takes place entirely in French oak (new and used) and the wine undergoes 100% malolactic fermentation. The resulting wine pours a beautiful golden color and the nose is layered, complex, and intense with a gorgeous mix of carmelized fruit, buttered toast, and hazelnut. The palate is rich and creamy, but there is a lovely vein of acidity that runs through the wine, keeping it fresh and lively. Drinking beautifully right now, this should continue to deliver pure pleasure for at least another 2 to 3 years.
Wine Enthusiast – 93 Points
“The Wine Enthusiast Top 100 of 2014 – #17 — Buttered toast, oaky smoke and a slight mango tropicality converge for an epic nose on this Chardonnay from a vineyard that was planted in 1976. There are layers of flavor too, lime citrus at first evolving toward brioche with a butterscotch finish, and some salt and cracked pepper throughout.”
Vinous Media – Antonio Galloni – 91 points
“The 2012 Chardonnay Wolff Vineyard is once again striking. Honey, almonds, apricots, dried pears and spices meld together in a resonant, deeply expressive Chardonnay from a late ripening site in Edna Valley. This is one of the great values in California wine. Winemaker Jeffrey Patterson gave the 2012 ten months in barrel.”