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California White Wines

California White Wines

California White Wines

If you’re in the mood for a creative, compelling white wine, few regions can compete with California, and it’s immense varietal diversity. With the pure, potent essence of grapes such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Pinot Gris, these wines will stimulate your senses and arouse your intellect. Give in, and enjoy.
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2014 chanin chardonnay los alamos vineyard California White

The 2014 Chardonnay Los Alamos Vineyard is rich, flavorful and deeply expressive. Orchard fruit, mint, sweet spices and butter notes meld together in a creamy, beautifully layered Chardonnay endowed with marvelous texture. This is an especially racy, almost flamboyant wine from Gavin Chanin. The Los Alamos is usually a bit more reserved, but in 2014 it is very much on the extroverted side of things. Chanin told me the 2014 Los Alamos (at 14.5% alcohol) is the ripest wine he has ever made.Antonio Galloni | 94 AGLight but tropical notes touch on the fluffy nose of this bottling, with papaya-laced marshmallow, pineapple meringue, lemon curd and a sea salt caramel touch. Chamomile, yellow apple skins, yellow flowers, tight mango and lots of saltiness show on the mouth-watering sip. The buttery character grows as it warms up, but it’s delicious in all temperatures.Wine Enthusiast | 94 WEThere are 26 barrels of the 2014 Chardonnay Los Alamos Vineyard. It’s a terrific Chardonnay that’s from sandy and calcareous soils and spent 12 months in 30% new French oak. Offering lots of buttered orchard fruits, cream corn, white flowers and hints of brioche and oak, it’s medium to full-bodied, nicely textured and rich, with a supple, soft, ready to go feel.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 91 RP

94
VM
As low as $39.99
2018 chanin chardonnay los alamos vineyard California White

Brought up in 20% new French oak, the 2018 Chardonnay Los Alamos reveals a light gold hue as well as a beautiful bouquet of stone fruits, toasted bread, almond paste, and honeysuckle. Beautifully textured, medium to full-bodied, and seamless on the palate, it’s a gorgeous Chardonnay as well as a brilliant value!Jeb Dunnuck | 95 JDLemon blossom, light pecan and classic oak aromas show on the nose of this bottling. The chalky palate and fresh, lingering acidity ride through tight lines of lemon peel and vanilla, which extend deep into the finish.Wine Enthusiast | 94 WETasting Gavin Chanin’s majestic chardonnay bottling from Los Alamos is like standing on a hilltop in that vineyard and letting the sea spray imperceptibly coat your lips. Beneath the cinnamon spice and the citrus brightness is a kind of bracing, briny green sensation, reminding one taster of agretti,the salty springtime green that finds its way into Italian salads. The wine is bracing and delicious, with the structure to age ten years or more.Wine & Spirits | 94 W&SThe nose is dominated by orange rind and starfruit with a subtle note of struck flint behind. The palate is rich, beaming and wide, exuding the sunshine and sandy soils that define this site. The Los Alamos Vineyard bottling is typically the most tropical, flashy and forward of the Chanin Chardonnays, as is the case in the 2018 vintage. 18 months in mostly neutral barrique, full malolactic fermentation. Drinking Window 2020 - 2035.Decanter | 93 DECThe 2018 Chardonnay Los Alamos Vineyard is a very pretty, airy wine. Candied lemon peel, almond paste and chamomile are all laced together. Tangerine oil and tropical accents add an exotic flair as this mid-weight Chardonnay opens nicely in the glass.Antonio Galloni | 92 AG

95
JD
As low as $39.99
2018 chanin chardonnay sanford & benedict vineyard California White

Not yet bottled, the 2018 Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict is still resting in 20% new French oak. Coming from a great site on the southern side of the Sta. Rita Hills, it offers a rocking bouquet of lemon curd, chamomile, toasted bread, spice, and a touch of crushed stone-like flinty minerality. Beautifully textured, medium to full-bodied, and elegant on the palate, it’s another brilliant wine from this estate.Jeb Dunnuck | 95-97 JDAromas of moss and kumquats combine with decadently ripe, yet still refreshing, limpid fruit. The textured palate reflects the stony minerality of the nose in a snappy, svelte package. It spent 20 months in mostly neutral barrique, and is a blend of the own-rooted 1971 vines as well as younger plantings. Drinking Window 2020 - 2040.Decanter | 95 DEC

95-97
JD
As low as $59.99
2018 hahn estate lucienne chardonnay lone oak vineyard California White

Limpid yellow-gold. Vibrant, mineral- and spice-accented citrus and orchard fruit and jasmine qualities on the highly perfumed nose. Juicy and energetic in the mouth, offering Meyer lemon, pear nectar and quinine flavors and a touch of buttered toast. Closes minerally and impressively long, delivering a resonating floral note and firm, spicy lift.Vinous Media | 93 VMAromas of slightly seared lemon peel, lime and grapefruit blossom show on the bright nose of this bottling. The palate is more toasty in oak flavors, but a lemon twist adds vibrancy.Wine Enthusiast | 91 WE

93
VM
As low as $35.99
2018 mount eden chardonnay estate California White

Mount Eden’s 2018 Chardonnay offers a fabulous interplay of richness and energy. A wine of linear intensity, the 2018 could use a few more years in bottle to be at its best, but it is super-impressive, even now, in what is very clearly the early going. Lemon confit, mint, orange peel, spice and light butter notes all build into the articulate, polished finish. This is such a classy wine. Give it a few years to come together.Antonio Galloni | 95 AGHoneyed nut, tangerine peel and baked apple aromas show on the nose of this bottling. A zesty acidity enlivens the palate from front to back, carrying toasty flavors of pan-seared apple, cashew, sea salt and white flower. Wine Enthusiast | 94 WEA Burgundy lover’s Chardonnay from the Santa Cruz Mountains, the 2018 Chardonnay Estate is another terrific effort from this estate. Lots of honeyed citrus, nectarine, toast, crushed stone, and white flower notes define the bouquet, and it opens beautifully with time in the glass, gaining both richness and complexity. Medium-bodied, it stays tight and compact on the palate, with bright yet integrated acidity, solid mid-palate depth, and a great finish. As with all of Patterson’s wines, it’s brilliantly made, balanced, and well worth checking out.Jeb Dunnuck | 93 JDMount Eden’s chardonnay vines are descendants of cuttings that Paul Masson brought from Burgundy and planted at his La Cresta Vineyard, and where Martin Ray sourced the plant material when he established Mount Eden on a nearby ridge, 2,000 feet above the Pacific, facing east. The contemporary vines, mostly planted in the mid-1990s, are tended by Jeffrey Patterson who made this rich and powerful 2018. Fermented in French oak barrels (50 percent new), the wine’s smokiness seems tied as much to the earth as to the wood. It’s savory and lemony, with a firm cut that should serve it well through several years of bottle aging.Wine & Spirits | 92 W&SThere’s a luscious and creamy texture to the concentrated ripe apple, pear and quince flavors that are filled with cooking spice accents. Ends with sage honey nuances on the rich finish. Drink now through 2024. 1,288 cases made. Wine Spectator | 91 WS

95
VM
As low as $59.99
2019 levo chardonnay onomatopoeia California White

The 2019 Onomatopoeia is all Chardonnay from the cooler Edna Valley, and it’s a bright, medium-bodied, beautifully balanced white offering classic citrus and lemon fruits, notes of sappy herbs, vibrant acidity, and a great finish. Aged 14 months in 48% concrete eggs, 26% in new barrels, and the rest in neutral oak, bottled unfined and unfiltered, it’s incredibly impressive.Jeb Dunnuck | 94 JDThe 2019 Chardonnay Onomatopoeia is creamy, open-knit and inviting, all of which make it a good choice for drinking now and over the next few years. Lees stirring and full malolactic fermentation add textural richness. Hints of apricot, lemon confit, sage and chamomile linger.Antonio Galloni | 91 AG

94
JD
As low as $49.95
2019 madson chardonnay arey vineyard California White

Extremely chalky on the nose, this bottling sizzles with aromas of yuzu pith, lemon juice and taut nectarine. A stony grip consumes the palate, which is like licking limestone, and then come sprinkles of lemongrass, lime leaf, white melon and white flower—a magical sip. Wine Enthusiast | 95 WE

95
WE
As low as $29.99
2019 rhys chardonnay horseshoe vineyard California White

The 2019 Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard is laced with the essence of crushed rocks, white pepper, orchard fruit, white flowers, chalk and mint. It is a bit less forthcoming than the Alpine Chardonnay. Saline notes build into the palate staining finish. This classically austere young Chardonnay just needs time in bottle. Tasted next to the Alpine, the Horseshoe has more mid-palate weight and feeling of phenolic intensity. The differences between the two are remarkable considering the sites are just 400 yards apart. The Horseshoe is planted on Monterey shale, while the soils at Alpine are Purisima, a formation that is about 8 million years younger. Such is the complexity of the Santa Cruz Mountains.Antonio Galloni | 96 AGRipe Meyer lemons, crushed stone, white flower, and exotic spice notes all emerge from the 2019 Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard. Rich and medium-bodied, it has a beautiful mid-palate, integrated acidity, and a great finish. It shows the slightly more rounded, supple style of the vintage, yet I love its density and length. Give it a year or two and enjoy over the following decade.Jeb Dunnuck | 95 JD(Chardonnay “Horseshoe Vineyard”- Rhys Vineyards (Santa Cruz Mountains)) The 2019 Horseshoe Vineyard chardonnay from Rhys is one of the low octane whites from the winery in this vintage, as it comes in at a cool 12.3 percent. However, the wine is very expressive on the nose, wafting from the glass in a refined blend of apple, pear, fruit blossoms, a beautiful base of soil tones, a touch of hazelnut and vanillin oak. On the palate the wine is vibrant, full-bodied and tightly-knit, with lovely intensity of flavor and transparency, a fine girdle of acidity and a long, nascently complex and promising finish. This will need a few years to open up, but should prove to be a long-lived and lovely middleweight once it is ready to drink. (Drink between 2024-2035)John Gilman | 93 JG

96
VM
As low as $125.00
2020 cambria estate winery chardonnay katherines vineyard California White

The 2020 Chardonnay Katherine’s Vineyard is bright and wonderfully saline, with plenty of mineral and savory accents. Citrus peel, mint, white pepper, chalk and dried flowers open nicely with a bit of time. There’s terrific energy and plenty of cut. Most of this fruit is sourced from the own-rooted vines first planted in 1971.Antonio Galloni | 94 AGThe 2020 Chardonnay Katherine’s Vineyard is terrific and shockingly good given the quantities produced. Burgundian-like aromas of stone fruits, chalky minerality, honeyed flowers, and brioche all define the nose, and it’s medium-bodied, with a supple, rounded texture, integrated acidity, and a great finish.Jeb Dunnuck | 90 JDDried lime peel, seared lemon pith, white flower and a hint of grass show on the nose of this bottling. There’s an earthy, crushed rock element to the palate, where dried apple and herb flavors also arise. Wine Enthusiast | 90 WE

94
AG
As low as $16.99
2020 chanin chardonnay los alamos vineyard California White

The 2020 Chardonnay Los Alamos Vineyard opens with lemon and saline tones before blossoming to exotic streaks of panna cotta and honey. Medium-bodied, silky and richly fruited, it offers a balance of concentrated, ripe fruit on a bright, translucent frame and finishes with great length and anchoring texture.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 95 RPClassic high-quality Chardonnay notes of orchard fruits, classy oak, brioche, and honeysuckle all emerge from the 2020 Chardonnay Los Alamos Vineyard, a medium-bodied, pure, balanced, straight-up impressive white from this team. With plenty of mid-palate depth, it brings bright acidity, good precision and focus, and outstanding length, and while I like it today, I see no reason this won’t evolve for 7-8 years, if not over a decade.Jeb Dunnuck | 94 JDThe 2020 Chardonnay Los Alamos Vineyard is bright, airy and lifted. In this vintage, the Los Alamos Chardonnay has a bit more texture and mid-palate pliancy than is often the case. That’s not a bad thing at all. In fact, orchard fruit, white flowers, spice and tangerine oil build in the oily, beautifully textured finish.Antonio Galloni | 94 AGGavin Chanin’s Los Alamos chardonnay in 2020 is a departure from prior vintages, which are notable for their lean energy. This wine starts off with a rich attack, warm and fresh, bearing beautiful salted lemon fruit flavors. It’s the sort of wine that takes days to open, the richness and smokiness receding with air as the wine falls into an elegant balance.Wine & Spirits | 94 W&SLight pear flesh, lemon butter and chiseled sandstone aromas show on the nose of this bottling. Warmer flavors of pear flesh, lime juice and chalk make for a fresh, fun and approachable palate.Wine Enthusiast | 93 WE

95
RP
As low as $49.99
2020 paul lato chardonnay east of eden pisoni vineyard California White

Coming from the Santa Lucia Highlands and brought up in 60% new French oak, the 2020 Chardonnay East of Eden Pisoni Vineyard is another stunner, offering a mineral-laced bouquet of stone fruits, chalky minerality, white flowers, and toasted bread. With incredible purity, medium to full body, and perfectly integrated acidity, it brings remarkable intensity and richness while staying vibrant, balanced, and light on its feet, with flawless balance. It picks up a liqueur of rocks-like sensation aromatically and on the palate with time in the glass (I followed this bottle for multiple days) and will drink brilliantly over the coming 7-8 years, although there’s no need to delay gratification.Jeb Dunnuck | 97 JDThe 2020 Chardonnay Pisoni Vineyard East of Eden is precise, nuanced and full of character. The 2020 has a bit more freshens than is often the case, but that is not a bad thing. There’s a bit of vintage 2020 edginess, typical for a year in which fruit was picked very early, but all things considered, this a strong showing. Hints of lemon peel, white flowers, mint and tangerine oil linger.Antonio Galloni | 92 AG

97
JD
As low as $95.00
2020 sandhi chardonnay patterson vineyard California White

The 2020 Chardonnay Patterson Vineyard opens with tempered matchstick-like reduction that gives way to nuanced aromas of baked apples, quince, lemon and lime blossom and toast. The medium-bodied palate strikes a fine balance between satiny, concentrated fruit and focused acidity, and the finish is long, layered and detailed.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97 RPA strong mineral streak of rainy sidewalk and chalk kick off the focused nose of this bottling, which opens ever so slightly toward lime pith, jicama and nectarine. The chiseled stone texture and flavor of the palate is pleasantly relentless, wrapping around the light lime and green-lemon flavors.Wine Enthusiast | 96 WEThe 2020 Chardonnay Patterson is quite powerful. It shows a distinctly mineral and savory profile that is intriguing, but also bit out of character for the Sta. Rita Hills. Sage, mint, dried flowers and lightly honeyed notes are pushed forward, while fruit is very much in the background. It’s a compelling wine in this stellar lineup from Sandhi.Antonio Galloni | 94 AGJuicy acidity and a note of salted caramel mingle with mango, green apple and tangerine flavors at the core of this succulent white, which is vibrant on the finish. Drink now through 2027. 229 cases made.Wine Spectator | 92 WS

97
RP
As low as $69.99
2020 sanford chardonnay sanford and benedict vineyard California White

The 2020 Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict Vineyard is beautiful and expressive this vintage with a singular personality that combines mineral character with full, ripe fruit and soaring floral character. White peach, nectarine and acacia are complemented by touches of charcuterie, beeswax and flint on the nose. The palate unfolds its exotic, perfumed flavors slowly, boasting an expansive, mouth-coating texture and sparks of juicy acidity calling you back for another sip on the long finish.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 97 RPThe 2020 Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict Vineyard is an astoundingly beautiful wine. Exotic, wild and beguiling, the 2020 possesses striking aromatic presence and gorgeous overall depth. Orange peel, spice, lemon oil, mint, ripe pear and hazelnut build in an unctuous, layered Chardonnay that dazzles from start to finish. Superb!Vinous Media | 95 VMThe 2020 Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict Vineyard (20% new French oak) has a touch of chamomile in its perfumed aromatics of golden apple, honeyed toast, spice, and subtle green almonds. Complex and nuanced aromatically, it’s medium-bodied on the palate, has high yet nicely integrated acidity, terrific balance, and outstanding length.Jeb Dunnuck | 94 JDCrisp and light aromas of apple, honey and tangerine peel are mellow and delicate on the nose of this vineyard-designate bottling from one of California’s most historically important vineyards. The grippy texture is well managed on the palate, as it lingers long through citrus peel, nectarine and salted, almost savory white fruit flavors. Wine Enthusiast | 94 WE

97
RP
As low as $72.99
2021 Brander Sauvignon Blanc Au Naturel

Cut grass, dark green herbs and yellow apple aromas show on the nose of this bottling. It’s very lean on the palate with a zippy, energetic acidity that cuts right through the cement, crushed stone and serrano flavors, engaging the palate on all sides.Wine Enthusiast | 93 WEThe 2021 Sauvignon Blanc Au Naturel is laced with hints of pear, mint, chamomile, spice and apricot. Racy and textured in feel, the Au Naturel has plenty of richness to play off the natural vivacity of the year.Antonio Galloni | 92 AGAll varietal, the 2021 Sauvignon Blanc Au Naturel offers a touch more oomph in its white peach, melon, white flowers, and honeysuckle-like aromas and flavors. It’s rich, medium-bodied, balanced, and certainly an outstanding expression of Sauvignon Blanc.Jeb Dunnuck | 91 JD

92
VM
As low as $33.99
2021 donnachadh chardonnay santa rita hills California White

The 2021 Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills is the first vintage of Chardonnay from Donnachadh. It was barrel fermented and matured for around 10 months. Its aromas combine bright herbal, green apple and pear tones with underlying savory hints. The light-bodied palate is bright and fresh, yet offers a touch of anchoring creaminess that draws out the finish. Proprietor Drew Duncan says that for this vintage, fruit came from the Donnachadh estate, although that may not be the case in the future as this new project really gets up and running.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 94 RPThis brand’s new appellation bottling satisfies in both Old and New World ways. Clean, chalky aromas of bright Meyer lemon flesh and pith meet with a briny note on the mineral-laden nose. The palate is wrapped in chiseled-stone tannins, loaded with acidity and yet generous on flavors of white melon, lychee, nectarine and honeysuckle.Wine Enthusiast | 93 WE

94
RP
As low as $32.99

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