Sanford & Benedict
- WINE ENTHUSIAST: CALIFORNIA'S GRAND CRU CHARDONNAYS: "The greatest Chardonnay vineyardsof Burgundy ? Montrachet and Corton-Charlemagne, to name two ? bask in near universal acclaim from the world's wine collectors. For centuries, winemakers have coveted the fruit from these grand crus, which are concentrated within walking distance oft he town of Beaune.
In California, winemakers also have identified their top sites for Chardonnay-vineyards that make wonderful, distinctive and sometimes ageworthy wines year after year. But unlike Burgundy, these prized plots are scattered along more than 300 miles, from northers Sonoma County to Santa Barbara.
Many are just two or three decades old, but a few go back tot he 1960seast one dates to pre-Prohobition. Our California reviewers give their picks oft he state's grand cru Chardonnay vineyards and call out the producers making wines from them.
Sanford & Benedict Vineyard, Sta Rita Hills
There's still healthy 44-year-old Chardonnay here planted on its own roots in 1972 by Richard Sanford and Michael Benedict. This gently sloping, north facing vineyard sits on calcium-rich, oceanic soils on the south side oft he appelation.
"The breezy, maritime climate, combined with a very long growing season, gives us rrichly textured Chardonnay that has a firm backbone of acid", says Steve Fennell. "The wines are quite distinctive in their flinty, mineral qualities along with saline notes. They have as much in common with their counterparts in Burgundy as they do the more fruit-foreward Chardonnays coming from most of California.""