2011 Chamisal Vineyards Chardonnay Stainless Un-Oaked

Year: 2011
Appellation: Central Coast
Country: USA - California
Wine Spectator: 88
Wine Advocate: 87
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.5%
Price :
$11.95
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2012 Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition: Gold Medal, 92 Points, Best of Class!

"Crisp and refreshing, with snappy, zesty flavors of lemon- and citrus-laced green apple, honeydew melon and spice. Clean, lively finish. Drink now through 2018. 20,000 cases made. " (WS)

"The 2011 Chardonnay Stainless shows serious intensity in its ripe, varietal fruit. This is an especially large, juicy Chardonnay, particularly considering the vintage and the aging in steel. Still, this bold Chardonnay delivers plenty of quality for the money. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2014. " (WA)

"A newish trend in U.S. Chardonnay is to forgo the oak, allowing the crisp Chardonnay fruit to shine through. It was a warm late-summer weekend in Chicago and the Chamisal 2011 Chardonnay “Stainless” provided a delicious alternative to the Sauvignon Blanc and Rose we’ve been enjoying all summer.

Tropical fruit and honey on the nose leads into a palate that is at the same time crisp, but also huge. Perhaps not surprisingly, the winemaker is a Kiwi who clearly takes a Sauvignon Blanc approach with this wine, allowing the fruit flavors to shine through rather than “outside influences” of oak and malolactic fermentation. Here is a nice video of the winemaker talking about his process with this wine:I appreciate both styles of Chardonnay but think this is a very well-executed “naked” version. That said, this is a ripe wine, particularly so for the cool 2011 vintage. It isn’t a Chardonnay dressed up like a Sauvignon Blanc, but rather a unique expression of Chardonnay. Style preferences aside, at $12, this is a lot of wine for the money. (Nickel & Dime)

Winery Notes:
This wine exhibits classic varietal characteristics with aromas of ripe pineapple, fresh Gala apples, pear and candied lemon. The palate has a weight that belies its unoaked status with a rich entry of fresh citrus fruit that leads into secondary aromas of fig and mineral. Finishing clean and crisp with lingering acidity, the wine is fresh and vivacious, with a dense mid-palate. This vintage proves that with the right grapes and winemaking, Chardonnay does not need oak or malolactic fermentation to shine.