The 2021 Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay continues the consistency of the predecessors; this cuvée always feels like sunshine in a bottle. On the nose are the welcomed tropical tones of banana, pineapple, and upsidedown citrus cake. On the palate the acid is bright, integrated and balances the gentle touch of oak nicely. There are lifted floral notes of dandelion and sunflowers that feel like a spring bloom. For food pairings I would suggest something spicy to compliment the bright and tropical profile, perhaps fish tacos or chicken enchiladas.
September 9, 2017
23.6 ̊ Brix
8 months in 100% French Oak; 30% new
August 19, 2018
Rich yellow in color, the 2017 SLH Chardonnay is a luscious and complex wine. Warm aromas of buttery baked yellow apple leap out of the glass, along with notes of pineapple and fresh peach. With the first sip, vanilla custard and baked pears with clove and nutmeg mix with juicy yellow peach for a creamy mouthfeel that is decadent without feeling cloying.
Silver - 2018 Monterey International Wine Competition 91 pts - Robert Parker, January 2020
This gorgeous vineyard of gravely, alluvial loam soil is well drained and its western slopes overlook the Salinas Valley. Typical of the 2017 harvest, vineyardists struggled to get fruit off the vine fast enough in the late August early September heat wave. Like the Pinot Noir from the same vineyard, this fruit came in slightly riper than typical. However, fruit quality was exceptional.
The grapes were received and destemmed and crushed. Following a proprietary process in the winery, the must was pressed and the juice transferred to stainless tanks to chill and settle. The clarified juice was transferred and fermentation began Sept 14. After a 26-day fermentation, the new wine was transferred to French Oak barrels, 30% of which were new. Malolactic fermentation was initiated at this time. The wine spent eight months on the lees at which time it was racked to begin cold stabilization that ended on Independence Day, 2018. The wine was fined and filtered prior to bottling on August 19, 2018.
The intended style of this continues from the two previous vintages, expressing tropical notes inherent in this AVA. As is now a tradition with this wine there is both a proprietary process of extraction at the beginning of the processing and Malolactic-fermentation tends not to complete. Rather than arguing with what the wine wants to do, we go with it. With the oak profile and the winemaking process, we end up with a wine that is richly tinted with tropical notes and enough oak to add interest and complexity. We think the 2017 our best so far!
Food Pairing Notes
Balanced acidity and plush textures help ensure that this chardonnay pairs well with rich foods such as Dungeness crab and poached lobster tail, pan-seared scallops with a citrus glaze, and elegant cheese boards.