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David's Wine Picks - California Chardonnay

(posted: August 18th, 2021)

Wine glasses filled with red and white wines
In this column, published a couple of times a year, David shares his passion for and expert knowledge of fine wines.

In each post he offers several selections that provide great value.

He identifies wines for drinking now, which ones to put away for several years, and those that are worth enjoying now and laying in a supply for future enjoyment.

Enjoy David's Wine Picks, and let us know if there is something you'd like David to review in a future column.

The vintages of 2018 and 2019 wines display both power and elegance, with the best of them capable of long-term aging. The days when big, buttery, and oaky wines dominated the production is apparently over. The latest wines are defined by gentler fermentation and less oaky flavor. Many of the 2018 and 2019 wines from the four great Chardonnay regions of California: Carneros, Napa, Santa Barbara/Monterey, and Sonoma have high ratings in the 90s.

Here are a few of my smart buys:

Wine Maker and Region Year Rating Price
Garry Farrell - Russian River Valley, Olivet Lane VY 2018 92 $45
Ramey - Fort Ross-Seaview 2018 93 $42
Antica - Napa Valley Mountain Select 2019 91 $35
Artesa - Los Carneros 2018 91 $23
Landmark - Sonoma Coast, Damaris Reserve 2018 91 $35
Beringer - Napa Valley Private Reserve 2019 91 $48
Kendall-Jackson Arroyo Seco Jackson Estate - Seco Highlands 2019 92 $40

There are also many solid Chardonnay wine values priced at around $20. Pick up a few of these great valued wines, slightly chill, and enjoy the rest of the summer drinking juicy flavors of fruit and spice.

Guide to Ratings:

  • 95 - 100 Classic, a great wine
  • 90 - 94 Outstanding, a wine of superior style and character
  • 85 - 89 Very good wine, with special qualities


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