So much chardonnay in california

So much chardonnay in california

Chardonnay from California is a great example of a varietal bottling, a wine made primarily from a single grape variety that usually displays the name of that variety on the label. This column focuses on the best Cali chards that I have recently had the pleasure to sample.

Dinner at Arista - try it, you'll like it

Arista Vineyards – one of the wineries featured in this column

The grape is green-skinned and neutrally flavored. It originated in Burgundy, France but is now grown wherever wine is produced. Vinified in many different styles, it is also an important component of sparkling wines including champagne. Chardonnay is one of the most widely-planted varieties in the world, with over 160,000 hectares (400,000 acres) currently under vine, and is now grown in more wine regions than any other grape.

Chardonnay is very malleable and thus an excellent vehicle for consumers to educate themselves on particular terroirs and winemaker styles. Such diversity equals a profile for every palate, which in turn means that you should try some of these excellent white wines.

TOURING WITH WOTR SURVEY QUESTION

The view from Lisa's back yard

The view from Santa Rosa in Sonoma County

I have prepared a quick (three question) survey for which I would very much appreciate your participation. The response deadline has been extended to June 15, 2014, and I will randomly choose one lucky responder to receive a perfectly stored, ready to drink bottle of Taurasi, the most famous red wine to hail from Campania. Here’s the link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SH625TS

BEN’S HIGH-DEFINITION WINE COUNTRY PICTURES ARE NOW FOR SALE

A vineyard in Carneros

A vineyard in Carneros

Have you ever read one of Ben’s columns and wondered how it would look to have one of his incredibly vivid pictures of wine country framed on your wall? We’re now offering various size prints of his quirky, high resolution photography at Pixels.com, where you can also add his images to smartphone cases, greeting cards, and many other items. Pictures can also be ordered loose or matted and framed in various sizes. Go to http://pixels.com/art/all/benjamin+weinberg/all to take a peek.

UPCOMING COVERAGE: CELEBRATE WALLA WALLA WINE

The view from Col Solare (Red Mountain, WA)

The view from Col Solare (Red Mountain, WA)

Ben will be covering the upcoming Celebrate Walla Walla Wine Festival from June 17-21, 2014, in beautiful eastern Washington. Follow along live with Ben on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Foursquare, and be sure to check out his Wine On The Road column after the event.

UPCOMING COVERAGE: BEN IN CROATIA

Wine On The Road’s Chief Wine Sherpa Ben Weinberg will also be spending September 1 – 5, 2014, in Croatia prior to heading to France for a client tour of Champagne and Burgundy. Be sure to follow Ben as he travels from Dubrovnik to Zagreb to Paris.

WINE, BEES, AND CHEESE IN PIEDMONT, ITALY, WITH FARM-TO-TABLE EXPERT JILL PARADIS AND WINE EXPERT BEN WEINBERG

In the vineyard with Wine On The Road clients at Fratelli Revello in Piedmont

In the vineyard with Wine On The Road clients at Fratelli Revello in Piedmont

This seven-day “Wine, Bees, and Cheese” tour of Piedmont, Italy, is an intensive travel experience punctuated by frequent tastes of the region’s best food, wine, and culture. Traveling with farm-to-table expert Jill Paradis and Wine On The Road’s Ben Weinberg, you’ll receive warm welcomes from each iconic producer and enough face-to-face time to discuss the history of each product as well as plans for the future. All represent generations of commitment to quality and respect for their lands and communities.

Price is $6,995 per person, paid in U.S. funds ($), based on double occupancy for between eight-and-twelve paid attendees, land only, excluding airfare, gratuities and other optional activities. Maximum group size is twelve adults of legal drinking age. For additional information on this extraordinary touring opportunity, or to download the Preliminary Itinerary and Booking Form, go to www.wineontheroad.com/winebeesandcheeseinpiedmont.php.

OREGON WINE COUNTRY WITH DAVIDSONS LIQUORS: MAY 15-19, 2015

Domaine Drouhin Oregon in the Willamette Valley

Domaine Drouhin Oregon in the Willamette Valley

Davidson’s Fine Wine Specialist Aaron Maher, who leads this tour with his special knowledge of Oregon wines, and Davidsons Liquors have partnered with international wine writer Ben Weinberg and Wine on the Road to offer this extraordinary opportunity. This is the ultimate in wine-focused, behind-the-scenes wine country experiences, combining award-winning wines and exquisite dining and lodging with uniquely local flair and flavor.

Price is $2,995 per person, paid in U.S. funds ($), based on double occupancy for between 16-and-24 paid attendees, land only, excluding airfare, gratuities and other optional activities. For additional information on this extraordinary touring opportunity, or to download the Preliminary Itinerary and Booking Form, go to www.wineontheroad.com/oregonwithdavidsons.php.

SEATTLE AND EASTERN WASHINGTON WINE COUNTRY: MAY 22-26, 2015

Beautiful eastern Washington

Eastern Washington near Mattawa

Wine on the Road’s Chief Wine Sherpa Ben Weinberg offers this extraordinary opportunity as the ultimate in wine-focused, behind-the-scenes wine country experiences, combining award-winning wines and exquisite dining and lodging with uniquely local flair and flavor.

Price is $2,995 per person, paid in U.S. funds ($), based on double occupancy for between 16-and-24 paid attendees, land only, excluding airfare, gratuities and other optional activities. For additional information on this extraordinary touring opportunity, or to download the Preliminary Itinerary and Booking Form, go to www.wineontheroad.com/washingtonunfiltered.php.

PORTLAND AND THE WILLAMETTE VALLEY WITH THE VINEYARD WINE SHOP

Maybe a balloon ride as well?

Maybe a balloon ride as well?

The Vineyard’s Wine Consultant Jordan Garcia, who leads the tour with his special knowledge of Oregon wines, and The Vineyard Wine Shop have partnered with international wine writer Ben Weinberg and Wine on the Road to offer this extraordinary opportunity. This is the ultimate in wine-focused, behind-the-scenes wine country experiences, combining award-winning wines and exquisite dining and lodging with uniquely local flair and flavor.

Price per person is $2,995, based on double occupancy for between 16-24 paid attendees, land only, excluding airfare, gratuities and other optional activities. Maximum group size is 24 adults of legal drinking age. For additional information on this extraordinary touring opportunity, or to download the Preliminary Itinerary and Booking Form, go to www.wineontheroad.com/oregonwiththevineyard.php.

WINE ON THE ROAD’S LUXURIOUS, BEHIND-THE-SCENES WINE TOURS

Wine On The Road

Wine On The Road

With Wine On The Road (www.wineontheroad.com), my wine-focused touring company, you can enjoy the ultimate wine country excursion with special access to top winemakers and their incomparable wines. Wine On The Road offers intimate wine country tours that combine award-winning wines and exquisite dining and lodging with uniquely local flair and flavor. We lodge at excellent and luxurious wine country estates (in the past we’ve occupied ancient yet completely restored castles as well as five-star resorts, all with modern amenities). We eat at amazing local restaurants and visit wineries that embody the best, most authentic expressions of local wine grapes.

Early 2015 tours include Piedmont, Italy (www.wineontheroad.com/winebeesandcheeseinpiedmont.php), Oregon’s wine country (in conjunction with Davidson’s Liquors, www.wineontheroad.com/oregonwithdavidsons.php), Seattle and Eastern Washington (www.wineontheroad.com/washingtonunfiltered.php), and then Oregon again (in conjunction with The Vineyard Wine Shop, www.wineontheroad.com/oregonwiththevineyard.php). You can learn more about these trips, book private groups in wine country world-wide and request more information on any of these extraordinary travel experiences by visiting www.wineontheroad.com, emailing me at benweinberg@wineontheroad.com, or calling me at 303-522-6738.
Recommended:

Red

Souverain Chardonnay North Coast 2011 (California, U.S.) $13
Hay yellow/roast pear, pain grille/pineapple, lemon custard/medmod

Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay Avant 2013 (California, U.S.) $17
Hay/yellow apple, pineapple/lemon, smoke/medmod

William Hill Chardonnay Estate North Coast 2012 (California, U.S.) $17
Yellow-orange/ripe orange, citrus/ripe pear, apple/himod

Carmel Road Chardonnay 2012 (Monterey, California) $17
Full yellow/apple, honeydew melon/yellow pear, butterscotch, vanilla/medmod

Wente Vineyards Chardonnay Riva Ranch Arroyo Seco 2012 (Monterey, California) $22
Dark yellow/fig, honeydew/spice, toasted bread/medmod

Kendall Jackson Chardonnay Grand Reserve 2012 (Santa Barbara/Monterey, California) $20
Bright yellow/clove, yellow pear/red apple, citrus/medmod

Holman Ranch Vineyards Chardonnay 2012 (Carmel Valley, California) $28
Bright yellow/creamy yellow apple, pear/cinnamon, vanilla, ash/hilong

Byron Chardonnay 2012 (Santa Maria Valley, California) $16
Yellow-green/yellow pear, apple/honeydew, spice/hilong

Cambria Chardonnay Katherine’s Vineyard 2012 (Santa Maria Valley, California) $16
Bright yellow/oak, hazelnut, nutmeg/fig, apricot/medmod

Bonterra Chardonnay 2012 (Mendocino County, California) $14
Greenish yellow/citrus, green apple/honeydew, clove, fig/himod

Wente Vineyards Chardonnay Morning Fog 2012 (Livermore Valley, California) $13
Moderate yellow/green apple, date/lemon zest, ginger/medmod

Artesa Chardonnay Carneros 2011 (Napa Valley, California) $20
Bright yellow/juicy white peach, tangerine/nectarine, lime blossom, cream/hilong

Antica Chardonnay 2011 (Napa Valley, California) $32
Moderate yellow/green pear, butter/vanilla, yellow apple/hilong

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Chardonnay Karia 2012 (Napa Valley, California) $35
Sunflower/pear apple mace/lemon zest butter flint/himod

Trione Chardonnay RRV 2011 (Sonoma County, California) $32
Bright yellow/cinnamon, cedar/yellow pear, apple, melon/hilong

Gundlach-Bundschu Chardonnay Estate Vineyard 2012 (Sonoma County, California) $28
Greenish yellow/yellow pear/steely brown sugar, red cherry/himod

Fog Crest Chardonnay Estate RRV 2011 (Sonoma County, California) $39
Gold-yellow/ripe pear, fig/honeydew, nutmeg/hilong

Jordan Chardonnay RRV 2012 (Sonoma County, California) $35
Dark yellow/graham cracker, ginger, toasted hazelnut/fig, yellow pear/hilong

J Vineyards Chardonnay RRV 2012 (Sonoma County, California) $28
Hay/slate, mace, Mandarin orange/lemon zest, straw/hilong

Laguna Chardonnay Laguna Ranch Vineyard RRV 2010 (Sonoma County, California) $35
Dark yellow/honey, fig, melon/toasty oak, mace, marshmallow cream/medmod

La Rochelle Chardonnay Dutton Ranch – Morelli Lane RRV 2011 (Sonoma County, California) $65
Hay yellow/red apple, marmalade/yellow pear, crème brulee/hilong

Gloria Ferrer Chardonnay Carneros 2012 (Sonoma County, California) $18
Dark yellow/peach, citrus/nutmeg, clove, vanilla/medmod