2018 Ojai Vineyard Chardonnay Puerta Del Mar Vineyard

Year: 2018
Appellation: Santa Barbara County
Country: USA-California
Vinous Media: 95
Jeb Dunnuck: 94
White Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 13.0%
Price :

"The 2018 Chardonnay Puerta Del Mar is bright and finely sculpted. Lemon oil, white flowers, mint, and a range of saline-infused overtones all grace the 2018. Weightless and yet full of flavor, the 2018 is positively stellar. It is yet another fabulous white in this range of new releases from Ojai and a terrific example of the far western edge of Santa Barbara County that is outside of the Sta. Rita Hills appellation." (VM)

"Lemon curd, golden apple, white flowers, ground spices, and bright citrus all emerge from the 2018 Chardonnay Puerta Del Mar Vineyard, another medium-bodied, silky, beautifully pure Chardonnay with loads of character. There are 442 cases made and, as with all the Chardonnay here, it was raised mostly in neutral oak.

I continue to love the wines from Adam Tolmach and Fabien Castel. These lean firmly toward the fresher, elegant end of the spectrum, yet I always find the wines to have wonderful depth of fruit, terrific balance, and singular characters." (JD)

Winery Notes:
In this ultra-cool climate site way out by Lompoc, vintage expression has always been stark. After seven harvests from Puerta Del Mar we’ve seen each offer unique expressions of shape and intensity. What’s consistent though is balance and subtlety preserved by onshore breezes from the nearby Pacific Ocean, so that’s given us a framework to tinker a bit with our approach in the cellar with results plain to see.

In step with our other 2018 Chardonnays, there’s a voluminous feel here: flavors of pear and just ripe apricot come on with a gentle clinging richness, but stay light footed thanks to salty acidity from a background streak of preserved lemon. Aromatically it shows what’s becoming classic Puerta Del Mar chalkiness, laced with lemongrass, fruit blossoms and vanilla that’ll pull your attention into the glass.

Speaking of vanilla, we’ve been discreetly nudging up our incorporation of newer French Oak barrels into this wine. It’s subtle, with new barrels preconditioned by our thorough steaming and pressure washing. But with around 10% new and preconditioned barrels, there’s a threshold perception of vanilla bean and grated spice that just enough to be enticing. The understated richness compliments sashimi and crudos when extra-aromatic whites like Riesling seem too much for the moment.