Die bekannte Weinjournalistin Linda Murphy hebt in ihrem Artikel "Californian Chardonnay" (auf der Website von DECANTER) besonders interessante Produzenten hervor. Da sich das Ganze nahezu wie eine Auflistung auch unserer Favoriten liest, wollen wir Ihnen ein paar Zitate zum Lesen anbieten:
Chanin Wine Company, Santa Barbara County
"Rising star Gavin Chanin joined the wine business aged just 18, working harvests in Santa Barbara County for Au Bon Climat and Qupé, while he studied art at the University of California, Los Angeles. By 21, he had his own label, which he designed himself. Since then, he has specialised in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from grapes purchased from Santa Barbara County vineyards, including Bien Nacido and Sanford & Benedict.
Chanin typically harvests at relatively low sugar levels, yet his wines have all the fullness and charm one could ask for in a Californian Chardonnay, with a perception of minerality. He buys only organically and sustainably farmed grapes, and eschews filtering and any winemaking additions.
(…) One to watch."
Ramey Wine Cellars, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County
"After making wine at Château Pétrus, Dominus, Chalk Hill and Rudd Estate, David Ramey settled into his own brand in 1996 and focused on Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa and Chardonnay from Sonoma. The wines, as he says, are ‘bold, but in check’. They’re intense, vibrant and refined.
Chardonnay has long been the apple of Ramey’s eye. He produces six: four vineyard designates plus appellational blends from the Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley. The only one from Napa is the Hyde Vineyard Carneros, and it was Larry Hyde who sold David and Carla Ramey their first load of grapes for their new brand nearly 20 years ago. Ritchie and Woolsey Road vineyards are in Russian River Valley, Platt on the Sonoma Coast.
In late 2012, the Rameys bought Westside Farms in Russian River Valley, near the famous Rochioli Vineyard. It’s their first vineyard acquisition, and grapes from the 17ha of Chardonnay there will go into the bottle with the 2013 vintage. A new winery and tasting room are also planned.
Ramey embraces Old-World winemaking techniques and applies them, plus a modern twist or two, to sunny Californian fruit. ‘Kids don’t get trained that way anymore,’ he laments."
Sandhi Wines, Santa Rita Hills, Sonoma County
"Sommelier Rajat Parr has been joined by Charles Banks (Mulderbosch, Leviathan) and winemaker Sashi Moorman in this Santa Barbara County brand. As leaders of the In Pursuit of Balance brigade (ie, lower alcohol content, less new oak), they produce keen, high-acid Chardonnays that range in potency from 12.6% to 13.1% from the warm 2012 vintage.
They use mostly neutral barrels, concrete fermenters and natural yeast, and don’t stir the lees – all in an effort to express vineyard character and vibrancy. Sourcing grapes from throughout Santa Barbara, with a special interest in the Santa Rita Hills area, they are specific in their vineyard needs: old vines, cold temperatures, close proximity to the ocean, windy exposures, north-facing expositions and clay and diatomaceous soils.
Sandhi’s three single-vineyard Chardonnays – Sanford & Benedict (first planted in 1971), six-yearold Bentrock (formerly Salsipuedes) and Rita’s Crown – are in Santa Rita Hills. A Santa Barbara County Chardonnay is a blend of three appellations within the county. All the wines are marked by citrussy succulence, with the Bentrock the fleshiest."
Shafer Vineyards, Napa Valley
"The Napa Valley producer best known for Cabernet Sauvignon also has a deft hand with Chardonnay. Its Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay, made from Napa Carneros-grown grapes, is a non-malolactic, barrel-fermented style, with about 25% of the juice fermented in stainless steel barrels. It’s juicy and luxuriant, yet also remarkably fresh and structured.
Long-time Shafer winemaker Elias Fernandez hit upon the stainless steel barrel idea a decade ago as a way to brighten the opulent fruit grown on the winery’s Red Shoulder Ranch, and many winemakers have followed suit. Shunning malolactic fermentation preserves natural acidity, and the result is a big yet balanced wine.
Most of Napa’s Chardonnay makers have left the warmer valleys for breezy Carneros. Shafer’s Red Shoulder proves what can be achieved there."