The Best California Chardonnay That You've Had In The Last 5 Years?

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The Best California Chardonnay That You've Had In The Last 5 Years?

#1 Post by Michael S. Monie » August 2nd, 2018, 3:42 pm

Not so much interested in that incredible bottle that you had back in 1978, (but you are certainly welcome to mention it if you should so desire) but rather wines that are out in the market now. And not particularly that one wow bottle, but a producer who consistently delivers what it is you are looking for in a California Chardonnay. Thanks.
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#2 Post by Frank Murray III » August 2nd, 2018, 3:51 pm

2014 Kutch Santa Cruz Mountain, without a doubt. That wine is bee-yoo-tee-ful, and it shows that way every single time I have one open, so that gives me confidence in my post and belief, as well. I would also say the 2015 Rhys Alpine Santa Cruz Mountain I had last month was pretty spot on too, yet that wine has only performed well 1X, versus the 6X for Jamie's chard.
  • 2014 Kutch Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (7/29/2018)
    July 2018 Kutch Visit (Jaime's Pad in SFO): This wine continues to be such a rock star of a Chardonnay. That lightly smoky aromatic of reduction, with a pure fruited lemon and honey palate, then the long, flinty finish. The core is citrus, tangerine and just pure. Still one of the best CA Chards I have ever tasted and it's aging along beautifully.
  • 2014 Kutch Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (12/5/2017)
    This bottle is from my original July 2016 order (for my benefit here, as I have sourced some since then via Winebid). Opened this about an hour ago, just letting it get some slow ox and get a little colder for serving blind later. I suspect this will change in the next few hours but allow me to post this initial note for those who may want to open and enjoy a bottle without the benefit of air. The bottle at this stage is beautiful, with a flint/slate backbone that was prominent in my previous bottle from 2 months ago. Yellow apple and some reduction in the aromatic. The palate has a sexy mix of lime skin, a creamy-like lemon and apple. The finish is long, slatey and the acidity carries so well. A few hours later, we crushed right through this bottle over dinner as it continued to show all the acidity, flint and purity of the fruit. As I have said in past notes and comments about this wine, it's a true CA gem of a chardonnay and in the elite for me of what Chard can do.
  • 2014 Kutch Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/24/2017)
    Today's bottle was the best I have drank to date. Began with a toasted aromatic, evolved to a saline and lemon peel driven profile that had a lovely balance. The best Chard I have had in a glass for many months. This is for me about as good as Chard gets. Stunning.
  • 2014 Kutch Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (7/23/2017)
    This started off with some reduction, which blew off in the glass. Lemon, lime, medium weight, sexy. This has a lot of length through the finish, and continues to drink super.
  • 2014 Kutch Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (11/21/2016)
    Opened about 30 mins ago, getting better with air too as it gets some O2 love. Despite what some have said, there is some oak here but I call this out only to add some diversity to the notes. Just a hint of vanilla bean, a seasoning. Rocky, I can see the chalky comment that others are making, too. Yellow apple, lime. What grabs me in this bottle is all the intensity, the stuffing and yet there is nothing heavy here. It's just kind of a clean energy that cuts right through the core of the wine. Finishes creamy, with the shading of oak again. After about an hour or so, we finished this over dinner, when I felt like the structure faded and the creamy, limey tones carried the finish. Enjoyed this a lot.
  • 2014 Kutch Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (2/20/2016)
    Opened for Falltacular, right into the glass. Beautiful, mixing lime skin, lemon light green apple and grapefruit. Minerally finish with medium weighted texture. I'm not sure what new oak may be applied to this but I don't see it, at least it is not in the wine's frame. What is here is plenty of energy and acidity fueling the finish. This is right up my alley, reminding me a lot of the Copain chards, with the crisp edge and purity. A+, Jamie.
Posted from CellarTracker
Last edited by Frank Murray III on August 2nd, 2018, 5:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
My WOTY candidates for 2019:
2014 Marie Courtin Eloquence BdB Extra Brut
2017 Rivers-Marie PN Occidental Ridge SC
2017 Rivers-Marie PN Platt SC
2017 Kutch Pinot Noir SC PN
2009 Roederer Cristal Brut
2017 Carlisle Zin Mancini Ranch RRV

My best wines of 2018:
2017 Kutch Falstaff Sonoma Coast PN
2012 Marguet La Grande Ruelle Ambonnay

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The Best California Chardonnay That You've Had In The Last 5 Years?

#3 Post by Tom DeBiase » August 2nd, 2018, 4:19 pm

The 2012 Ceritas Heinz Vineyard is a great bottle of Chardonnay. Very fresh, lemon curd, brioche, with touches of pear and thyme. Excellent minerality with an acid driven backbone. Just a baby, young but delicious already.

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#4 Post by S teve R edenbaugh » August 2nd, 2018, 4:26 pm

My top four in no particular order:

2013 Hirsch Vineyard
2012 Arnot-Roberts Trout Gulch
2014 Ceritas Trout Gulch
2013 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello

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#5 Post by PHuff » August 2nd, 2018, 4:32 pm

Frank Murray III wrote:2014 Kutch Santa Cruz Mountain, without a doubt. That wine is bee-yoo-tee-ful, and it shows that way every single time I have one open, so that gives me confidence in my post and belief, as well. I would also say the 2015 Rhys Alpine Santa Cruz Mountain I had last month was pretty spot on too, yet that wine has only performed well 1X, versus the 6X for Jamie's chard.
  • 2014 Kutch Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (7/29/2018)
    July 2018 Kutch Visit (Jaime's Pad in SFO): This wine continues to be such a rock star of a Chardonnay. That lightly smoky aromatic of reduction, with a pre fruited lemon and honey palate, then the long, flinty finish. The core is citrus, tangerine and just pure. Still one of the best CA Chards I have ever tasted and it's aging along beautifully.
  • 2014 Kutch Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (12/5/2017)
    This bottle is from my original July 2016 order (for my benefit here, as I have sourced some since then via Winebid). Opened this about an hour ago, just letting it get some slow ox and get a little colder for serving blind later. I suspect this will change in the next few hours but allow me to post this initial note for those who may want to open and enjoy a bottle without the benefit of air. The bottle at this stage is beautiful, with a flint/slate backbone that was prominent in my previous bottle from 2 months ago. Yellow apple and some reduction in the aromatic. The palate has a sexy mix of lime skin, a creamy-like lemon and apple. The finish is long, slatey and the acidity carries so well. A few hours later, we crushed right through this bottle over dinner as it continued to show all the acidity, flint and purity of the fruit. As I have said in past notes and comments about this wine, it's a true CA gem of a chardonnay and in the elite for me of what Chard can do.
  • 2014 Kutch Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (9/24/2017)
    Today's bottle was the best I have drank to date. Began with a toasted aromatic, evolved to a saline and lemon peel driven profile that had a lovely balance. The best Chard I have had in a glass for many months. This is for me about as good as Chard gets. Stunning.
  • 2014 Kutch Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (7/23/2017)
    This started off with some reduction, which blew off in the glass. Lemon, lime, medium weight, sexy. This has a lot of length through the finish, and continues to drink super.
  • 2014 Kutch Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (11/21/2016)
    Opened about 30 mins ago, getting better with air too as it gets some O2 love. Despite what some have said, there is some oak here but I call this out only to add some diversity to the notes. Just a hint of vanilla bean, a seasoning. Rocky, I can see the chalky comment that others are making, too. Yellow apple, lime. What grabs me in this bottle is all the intensity, the stuffing and yet there is nothing heavy here. It's just kind of a clean energy that cuts right through the core of the wine. Finishes creamy, with the shading of oak again. After about an hour or so, we finished this over dinner, when I felt like the structure faded and the creamy, limey tones carried the finish. Enjoyed this a lot.
  • 2014 Kutch Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (2/20/2016)
    Opened for Falltacular, right into the glass. Beautiful, mixing lime skin, lemon light green apple and grapefruit. Minerally finish with medium weighted texture. I'm not sure what new oak may be applied to this but I don't see it, at least it is not in the wine's frame. What is here is plenty of energy and acidity fueling the finish. This is right up my alley, reminding me a lot of the Copain chards, with the crisp edge and purity. A+, Jamie.
Posted from CellarTracker
++++1

The Kutch 2014 SCM is the best Chard I have ever had from California. It is a different style of wine than Peter Michael, but I would put it up against a 94 Peter Michael Cuvee Indigene that I was absolutely floored by back in the day.....

My wife threw me a 60th Birthday Party with a bunch of our friends a few months ago, and I raided my cellar for the occasion. We drank some good stuff (Kistler Silver Belt Pinot, 97 Insignia, 95 Pichon Lalande, Saxum, etc....), and the Kutch was the wine everyone was talking about......They kept asking me, "What is that"? "Where did you get it, can I buy some"? I told them that Jamie was long sold out of that wine, but at least he got a few new members on his mailing list.......:)
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#6 Post by CJ Beazley » August 2nd, 2018, 4:36 pm

2009 Ramey Ritchie
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#7 Post by mike pobega » August 2nd, 2018, 4:50 pm

2001 Kistler Dutton Ranch Chardonnay
2014 Kutch Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains

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#8 Post by robert creth » August 2nd, 2018, 4:54 pm

I have to go with Rhys. Have been converted to Chardonnay by Rhys and love em all. Bearwallow, Horseshoe and Anderson Valley, are all delicious.

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#9 Post by Scott E. » August 2nd, 2018, 4:58 pm

Had to be a 2011 Mount Eden Estate and IMO seems like a consistently good producer. Second place would have to go to a 2012 Aubert Ritchie. Cheers!
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#10 Post by RyanC » August 2nd, 2018, 5:14 pm

2014 Kutch SCM. It really is that good.
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#11 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » August 2nd, 2018, 5:19 pm

2008 Ramey Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay from magnum in 2016.
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#12 Post by J. Hayes » August 2nd, 2018, 5:26 pm

Another vote for the 2014 Kutch Chardonnay SCM.
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#13 Post by Jud Reis » August 2nd, 2018, 5:32 pm

2007 Arcadian Sleepy Hollow from a mag about two months ago. Just gorgeous.

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#14 Post by Russ Williams » August 2nd, 2018, 5:38 pm

2014 Kutch Chard SCM
Numerous Ceritas Chards
Numerous Rhys Chards

Besides these producers, throw in a few Arcadian and Copain and that is pretty much all the chards I drink from CA.
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#15 Post by J a y H a c k » August 2nd, 2018, 6:48 pm

5 years makes it tough.
Lots of Aubert 2004 Lauren, 2007 Ritchie, 2013 CIX.

Other than that . . . a winery not mentioned. I could tell you but then I would have to kill you
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#16 Post by Jerry Hey » August 2nd, 2018, 7:14 pm

2010 Ramey Hyde - in the middle of some others more highly rated it was the most Burgundian.

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#17 Post by Matt Mauldin » August 2nd, 2018, 7:22 pm

2011 Ceritas Peter Martin Ray
2011 Flowers Camp Meeting Ridge
2008 Littorai Charles Heintz
2008 & 2010 Stony Hill
2014 White Rock
2007 Arcadian Sleepy Hollow
2010 Au Bon Climat Bien Nacido

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#18 Post by Alan Rath » August 2nd, 2018, 7:48 pm

Not sure I can pinpoint a "best", but Chards from Ceritas, Copain, and Rhys are the California wines I drink.
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#19 Post by Ken Strauss » August 2nd, 2018, 7:52 pm

Marcassin Marcassin Marcassin
Followed closely by Peter Michael
Every year is a celebration of excellence.
Aubert is amazing also.
We drink a lot of Chardonnay.
Kistler was a previous favorite but Marcassin,Aubert and Peter Michael are our new favorites.

So many great wines it is hard to pick an absolute favorite.
Had a Aubert 2012 Ritchie tonight that was amazing.
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#20 Post by Jason Petty » August 2nd, 2018, 8:01 pm

Every Ceritas Porter Bass especially the 2010
2008 Littorai Heintz
2013 Arnot Roberts Trout Gulch

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#21 Post by M. Dildine » August 2nd, 2018, 8:28 pm

My favorite Chardonnays are Rhys Horseshoe and Alpine.
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#22 Post by Chris Seiber » August 2nd, 2018, 8:44 pm

Aged Aubert chardonnay for me:

https://www.wineberserkers.com/forum/vi ... 1&t=153113

Seriously, I’m not great at “best of” thinking with wine, but 2014 Kutch SCM is the one I remember being most stunned by.

2012 Rhys Horseshoe was also incredible at release and again this summer.

I bought a case of 2014 Hanzell Estate and it’s been superb as well.

The two 2016 Rivers Marie chards I had at Falltacular were real standouts.

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#23 Post by NED VALOIS » August 2nd, 2018, 9:35 pm

Aubert Lauren-Pick a year !

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#24 Post by Mike S. » August 2nd, 2018, 9:45 pm

Kutch 2014, Paul Lato 2014 Pisoni
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#25 Post by RobLloydq » August 2nd, 2018, 10:39 pm

Don’t drink much California white but agree 2014 Kutch is very good.

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#26 Post by Sean_S » August 2nd, 2018, 10:47 pm

Best overall for me were all Mt Eden Chard's 1996, 1998, 2002 all off winebid for a fair price.

Arcadian, Rhys, Ceritas and Kutch for my palate now but have limited experience.

Ian Brands - LPP Jacks Hill is has great acidity, fruit and texture for a pretty nice price. $22

Clos La Chance from San Martin sells the best $9 Chardonnay I've ever had at Safeway's in NorCal. Its not plonk. The oak isn't over dominate and the balance of fruit and acidity make drinkable wine.

But honestly I'm buying more Chablis and Oregonian Chard's these days.
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#27 Post by Gary York » August 2nd, 2018, 10:49 pm

Ceritas Trout Gulch is probably at the top. Pretty sure it was 2014. And drank it next to Ceritas Peter Martin Ray. The TG edged it out by a nose.

Would also reccommend Anthill, Rhys, Mount Eden and Lioco.
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#28 Post by Joe Mendez » August 2nd, 2018, 11:04 pm

My top 3.

1. Vice Versa Platt Chardonnay 2016 (their first year but excellent)
2. Aubert CIX
3. Kistler Dutton Ranch

I also enjoy Stony Hill

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#29 Post by Joe W i n o g r a d » August 2nd, 2018, 11:32 pm

14 Kutch again. It really is remarkable.

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#30 Post by P@u1_M3nk3s » August 3rd, 2018, 12:17 am

2014 Kutch SCM. And 2008 Rhys Alpine if you allow that it was last tasted 5 years and 3 months ago.
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#31 Post by Jason Hagen » August 3rd, 2018, 12:37 am

I don't drink a lot of California Chardonnay but over the last 5 years my 2 favorites that I have notes on are:

2005 Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains

and

2013 Aubert Chardonnay Ritchie Vineyard

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#32 Post by Joshua Kates » August 3rd, 2018, 4:26 am

In addition to those mentioned--Ceritas, Rhys, Kutch, Aubert, and Ramey--the 2012 Fogline Zephyr’s Block, a beserkerday buy, really sticks with me.

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#33 Post by Kevin Porter » August 3rd, 2018, 5:04 am

A recent release from Kalin - 1995 Kalin Cellars Chardonnay Cuvée CH Sonoma

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#34 Post by Bill Sweeney » August 3rd, 2018, 5:07 am

2007 Marcassin Marcassin Vnyd

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#35 Post by JeremyMullman » August 3rd, 2018, 6:05 am

Very different but both great:

2013 Kongsgaard Judge
2012 Rivers-Marie Theriot

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#36 Post by Matt Allen » August 3rd, 2018, 6:12 am

2014 Kutch

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#37 Post by Richard T r i m p i » August 3rd, 2018, 6:34 am

Ceritas, Rhys, Kutch, Lioco, Au Bon Climat, Arnot Roberts and a plug for good ole non-Malo-ed Montelena.

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#38 Post by William Kelley » August 3rd, 2018, 6:36 am

1994 Kalın Cellars Chardonnay LW Special Cuvée (just released)
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#39 Post by Brian Tuite » August 3rd, 2018, 6:43 am

Rivers Marie Theriot
Rivers Marie Bear Wallow
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#40 Post by AndyK » August 3rd, 2018, 8:54 am

2011 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard
2014 Aubert Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard
2014 Littorai Chardonnay Thieriot Vineyard
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#41 Post by Brian Gilp » August 3rd, 2018, 9:09 am

Last year at the Chanin/Lutum tasting room. It was from Bien Nacido. I rarely enjoy California chardonnay and haven't found one from BN that I liked yet but this left me speechless. I thought it was odd that he had me taste the pinot first before the chard but when he ended on this I understood why. I will pull the bottle tonight and update this with which producer and vintage since I can't remember now which label it was under. I am assuming it was 2014.

Edited to add it is the Chanin 2014 Bien Nacido
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#42 Post by Brandon R » August 3rd, 2018, 9:18 am

Going by my TNs in CT, my favorites have come from Melville Winery. I've had Liquid Farm (like those too), Ferren, Kistler (albeit not their top cuvees), Walter Hansel, and a few others, and my top impressions were both from Melville.
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#43 Post by Douglas Breen » August 3rd, 2018, 11:14 am

My favorites are

Rochioli Rachael’s 2013
Rhys Horseshoe 2012
Morlet Coup Coeur 2009

My favorite Chardonnay for food is Ceritas Heintz (2013 is incredible).

California Chardonnay is my favorite varietal from California.

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#44 Post by K John Joseph » August 3rd, 2018, 11:32 am

So, um, anyone have a 2014 Kutch SCM they'd like to discuss parting with?
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#45 Post by Brandon R » August 3rd, 2018, 11:50 am

K John Joseph wrote:So, um, anyone have a 2014 Kutch SCM they'd like to discuss parting with?
It's approaching MACDONALD status. Don't you know? champagne.gif
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T. Melloni
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The Best California Chardonnay That You've Had In The Last 5 Years?

#46 Post by T. Melloni » August 3rd, 2018, 12:15 pm

I'll join the chorus with another shout out for the 2014 Kutch Santa Cruz Mountain Chardonnay.

One other wine that stood out for me is the 2010 Poe Wines Chardonnay Ferrington Vineyard. Poe does not get a lot of attention on this board but Sam produces some terrific wines. This one stood out as special.

Another memorable California Chardonnay for me was the 2012 Kistler Chardonnay Vine Hill Vineyard. Like Stefon's recommended New York hottest clubs, this wine had everything: sea spray, honey, apricots, lychee, acidity, wet rocks, complexity, and elegance.
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The Best California Chardonnay That You've Had In The Last 5 Years?

#47 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » August 3rd, 2018, 12:24 pm

I am pretty certain I haven't drunk a single California Chardonnay in the last 5 years, except a sip at a conference reception here and there.

I suppose that would mean those examples are the best I've had!

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The Best California Chardonnay That You've Had In The Last 5 Years?

#48 Post by Robert Pavlovich » August 3rd, 2018, 12:28 pm

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The Best California Chardonnay That You've Had In The Last 5 Years?

#49 Post by dsimmons » August 3rd, 2018, 1:29 pm

I drink a lot of Hansel Chardonnay because I believe it is the best bang for the Buck. I have also had memorable bottles from Hartford Court, Stone Street, Ramey, Aubert, Maccassin and others. Lots of good Chardonnay available.
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The Best California Chardonnay That You've Had In The Last 5 Years?

#50 Post by Dan Hammer » August 3rd, 2018, 1:35 pm

The '12 and '14 Rhys Alpine, followed by '13 SENS3S B.A Thieriot and '15 SENS3S Charles Heintz Vineyard.
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