An expected dark golden. Sweet sage honey and dessert floral, ripe cantaloupe–no, not so fruity–more like honeydew or crenshaw, and with a mineral briar smokiness NOT attributed to oak, DESPITE the stereotypes of the variety. Slightly smelling of seawater and seagulls, seabluff wind in wild grass and wood siding greyed out and weather-beaten in classic huddled–but grand–Sea Ranch fashion. You can SMELL the acidity, the granular rock and grapefruit minerality. It reeks out from around the round fullness of the variety even before you taste it.
Picked this up at one of my favorite importer DTC situations here in Paso Robles: the Arnaud Fabre/Oliver Esparham/Sasha Verhage compilation called PROCURE WINES. Check them out: they get a lot of cool shit and your credit card will never recover. Prizes like this are not uncommon, and this is a group of guys you can trust–especially with something like Chardonnay.
In the mouth, cool spicy elegance. No butter here, just plain old Chardonnay brilliance. Oh, you think Chard isn’t brilliant? I have some bad news for you: YOU ARE DRINKING THE WRONG CHARDONNAYS. This wine is the PERFECT example of why shallow dorks play around with the toddler-toys of Albarino, Picpoul, and even Riesling to find their supposed acidic-mineralific ideals while most in the know consider things like Chardonnay and Viognier to be the true holy grails. Thick and rich while cutting a sharp rug of razor-focused–almost spritzy–citrus fruit, it zings while the others zag, laying edgy, mouth-wiping goodness on every surface.
This wine is NOT heady or blustery or glycerin-ey. Even at this almost roll-your-eyes age for CA chard. Light and elegantly-fruited on entry, increasingly acidic over the middle, finally landing on a burning bluff of southern-swept air while pineapple and papaya do a postlude.
2005 VARNER Chardonnay Spring Ridge Vyd Santa Cruz Mts 13.6