2017 Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay Estate

Year: 2017
Appellation: Santa Cruz Mountains
Country: USA - California
Wine Spectator: 91
Wine Advocate: 93
Wine Enthusiast: 94
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.0%
Price :
$49.95

"Pure and powerful, with dried sage and preserved citrus accents to the ripe pear and baked apple flavors. Ginger and roasted pineapple notes appear on the creamy finish. Drink now through 2024. 1,832 cases made. -KM" (WS)

"The 2016 Chardonnay Estate opens with red pear and apple, spring honey, hay and fresh almonds with hints of orange blossom, lemon pith, stone, toast and white peaches. Medium-bodied with an intense fruit core, it offers lovely earthy/savory hints, with juicy acidity and a long, mineral-tinged finish. 1,176 cases produced.

Jeffrey Patterson was reticent to make pronouncements on quality when I asked him about the latest vintages at Mount Eden. “2016, 2017 and 2018 are wines in progress for me,” he explains. “I haven’t focused on their ultimate quality. It takes a while for me to formulate a strong opinion about a vintage until it’s been in bottle at least five or six years. Our wines tend to age really slowly, and it’s also an emphasis we have in our winemaking. I focus on longevity because if I do my job correctly, I can make wines that age 25 years. The vineyards have that potential. It’s always been a mystery to me why this place, this mountain, can have such longevity. It’s a signature of the Santa Cruz Mountains, that long term ageability.” Stylistically, he links the wines to those of France. “I always get a certain impression from these wines,” he says. “More soil-driven notes, more tannin and acid, lower alcohol than most California wines—a lot of the character of French wines. But they also have a generosity and richness typical of California. Every year, I don’t know why, we get a style of wine that has both. It’s an elevation-based appellation, and you have to be above the fog. But it’s not connected to any other California wine region. The Santa Cruz Mountains stands alone.”

Patterson has a unique perspective on the appellation where he has made wine since 1981. “From 1981 to 2013, we started picking in September,” he recalls. “In 2014 to 2017, we started picking in August. I’m particularly happy with the 2014 vintage. The wines came out really strong across the board. It was the nadir of the drought. We had incredibly little rainfall—14 inches all year. I’ve never recorded that number before in my life. But the wines turned out very round, full, plush and really delicious. But I think the effect of the 2014 vintage was manifested more in 2015. The 2015s have much more of an angularity to them, much more of a drought influence. 2016 broke the drought. It was almost normal in terms of our winter rain. We don’t do any irrigation. We started harvesting on August 19, slightly later than in 2015.”

Ellie Patterson noted, “We had the heat spike too in 2017. It was 106 degrees for two days. But it was a relatively cool summer otherwise. We had picked quite a bit of the estate fruit before the heat wave.” " (WA)

"There's a core of pear, light oak, toast and sea spray on the nose of this bottling from the iconic producer. Crushed chalk and almond flavors meet with a streak of lemon blossom on the palate, which is elegantly textured and built to last. -Matt Kettmann" (WE)

Winery Notes:
This full bodied chardonnay displays fine underlying acidity and a long finish, with hints of cardamom, anise and hazelnut which add interest to the fundamental lemon-mineral flavors. Of all Mount Eden’s estate-grown wines, our chardonnay is most in need of further bottle aging at time of release, requiring an additional two to four years to fully reveal its true character. Many vintages are still fresh and enjoyable after fifteen years; this wine is considered one of the longest-lived white wines produced in California. Our chardonnay is the one of longest continuous estate bottle productions in North America.