91 Points - Wine Enthusiast
91 Insider Points
"Done in a more oxidized style, this wine shows marzipan, dried apricot, browned butter, dried pineapple and a gunmetal flint character on the nose. The palate is very focused, with flavors of preserved lemon, lime rind, sage-roasted chicken and a faint minty element."- Wine Enthusiast
The 2012 Chalone Estate Chardonnay is a wonderfully unique bottle of wine, expressing peach, pear, lemon and marzipan on the nose. The palate is lively and crisp, with a vibrant citrus acidity, lemon juice, fresh peach and just a dusting of baking spice from the 9 months in French Oak. A delicious and refreshing wine that is sure to please Chardonnay drinkers from Burgundy to Carneros. Enjoy now through 2019. - DZ Feb 2017
A slice of Chardonnay heaven lies within Monterey, and in particular at Monterey’s oldest Estate. Chalone’s soil profile is akin to Burgundy making it a cool haven for premium fruit and elegant wines. When tasting this vintage you will find that “the palate is very focused” according to Wine Enthusiast who found it worthy of 91 points.
Chalone is known for its concentrated mineral character and this Chard expresses it beautifully. Sourced from 1,800 feet in elevation along the Gavilan Mountain Range, this vintage also shows off some serious peach, pear and citrus against a lavish texture. The vibrant fruit characteristics are also attributed to a night-time hand harvest and immediate whole cluster press from some of the Estate’s oldest vineyards. The oldest vines used in this Chard were planted in 1919. Additional plantings from 1971, 1972, 1973 and 1985 were used.
Winemaker Robert Cook (winemaker of this vintage) has always thought of Chalone as more than a label. It is “a place on earth.” And he speaks of this Chard with passion explaining how the varietal’s character and place is in the “mouthfeel, texture, brightness and minerality” of this vintage.
Reasons why we love it
Many of our Chard fans know of the famous Paris Judgment that recognized Chalone Chardonnay in all of its prestige over 40 years ago. Placing highly among CA and French whites at the event sent Chalone Wine Group Co-Founder Richard (Dick) Graff into wine stardom. All of his observations over Chalone’s limestone dirt, that reminded him of Burgundy, paid off when he planted undeniably complex Chardonnays. His Estate quickly became one of California’s top Chard producers and pioneered the use of oak in CA white wines.
Graff went on to take California’s culinary scene by storm with his partnerships with Julia Child and Robert Mondavi. The team founded the nonprofit American Institute of Wine and Food to help raise appreciation for the culinary arts.
Lush peach, pear, apple and citrus expression. Complex minerality, precise acidity and opulent texture are the signatures of the Chalone limestone terroir. The fresh, lemony notes in the aromas turn to complex brioche nuances with age.
Chalone Vineyard is the sole winery in the Chalone American Viticultural Area (AVA), a federally designated area that has climatic, geologic and geographic features that distinguish it from the land surrounding it.
Dramatic climate changes occur at Chalone Vineyard not only from season to season but hour to hour. Temperatures can swing from intensely hot during the day (90 degrees F) to considerably cooler at night (50 degrees F) over much of the growing season. Grapes need these cold nights to maintain their acidity while fully developing their flavors.
The appellation is dry, with an average rainfall of less than 15 inches annually, and Climatological Data Reports from the US. Weather Bureau classify the Chalone appellation as Region I in some years and Region IV in others. Despite such variation, we see very little difference in wine quality from year to year. We feel Chalone Vineyard's unique character is not based on weather, but on its unique soils.
A great choice with foods from rich pasta dishes and cheeses to light seafood dishes.