93 Insider Points
Laird's Cold Creek Chardonnay will most certainly rival some of Napa Valley's finest Chardonnays, many of which sell for more than twice the price... With one of the world's most accomplished winemakers as their consultant, Laird is producing a Chardonnay that is definitely worthy of your attention.
The terroir shines through yet a full-throttle, buttery malolactic feel engulfed in sweet, sexy new oak is how the package gets delivered, making this an amazing value. Pleasant scents of honeyed citrus, tropical fruits, and white flowers are indicative of a cool climate site. That deft touch of luxurious new oak, well-integrated acidity, a medium to full body and a striking mineral component are found in this stylish, complex, singular California Chardonnay. Drink now. - Premier Sommelier Team
Carneros, Napa Valley
In earlier vintages, the Wine Spectator has raved that Laird's Cold Creek Chard is, "most intriguing", "presented in a full-bodied style", "delicate and expansive", with a "persistent finish", while Wine Enthusiast seemed to echo their delight, noting it's, "A real crowd pleaser".
This Chardonnay is a luminous example of a cool-climate white. Absolutely 100% of the fruit came from the Cold Creek Ranch, located on the Sonoma County side of the Carneros District. This, together with Burgundian clones, results in a balanced, zesty Chardonnay with ample fruit framed by acidity and mineral notes. Hobbs and Gonzalez chose a 50% malolactic fermentation and 11 months aging in French oak (50% new) for this Chardonnay, a decision that bridges the two opposing philosophies for Chardonnay. Their bet paid off: This wine is both buttery and citrusy with toasted pastry and almond notes along with a lemony core and a rich, juicy finish. It’s the kind of Chardonnay that is equally adept as a sipping wine or a wine for the table. Our Tasting Panel is particularly fond of pairing this with lemon chicken or wild salmon steaks.
Reasons We Love It:
- The Laird family is the largest private vineyard owners in all of Napa Valley, which means access to tremendous fruit. Laird just keeps delivering the goods year after year!
- Grown in the slightly cooler microclimate of the Sonoma side of the Los Carneros district to the west, where thick fog and cool marine winds protect its tender skins. Indigenous to the Burgundy region of France, Clones 15 and 95 at a 50:50 ratio exhibit an approachable style and luminous, golden color.
Golden straw in color, the wine has aromatics of tropical fruits, sweet nectarine, melon, and vanilla. On the palate, jasmine, citrus, and ripe Fuji apple are complemented by a creamy mouthfeel and hints of lemon curd. The finish lingers, making you yearn for the next sip.
From the Winemaker:
Our Cold Creek Chardonnay is grown in the slightly cooler microclimate of the Sonoma side of the Los Carneros district to the west, where thick fog and cool marine winds protect its tender skins. Indigenous to the Burgundy region of France, Clones 15 and 95 at a 50:50 ratio exhibit an approachable style and luminous, golden color.
From the winery:
Our story begins nearly 64 years ago outside of South Boston Virginia as 12-year-old Ken Laird drove his mule wagon through tight rows of sticky, fit-to-be-harvested tobacco leaves. As the gooey bundles were thrown up onto the wagon, little Ken led his mule team to the curing barn. It was there, with his grandmother, great uncles, and cousins, they would stoke smoky curing fires for their prized tobacco. Ken would be the third-generation Laird to carry on the farming tradition.
While growing up to be a big-city mechanical engineer in New York City, Ken held on to family tradition by buying his first Napa Valley parcel in 1970. This neglected piece of land, adjacent to Tubbs Lane in Calistoga, held 70 acres of worn-down prune trees. With Prohibition 40 years gone and Napa Valley positioned to re-emerge as viticulturally significant, Ken decided to develop the orchard into a grape vineyard. While knowing just short of nothing about viticulture, Ken was also $150,000.00 short to properly develop the orchard into a respectable vineyard.
Picking up a tattered phone book, Ken went to the yellow pages and found eight listed wineries, Robert Mondavi being the only one he recognized. With a phone call, Robert Mondavi himself agreed to walk the property. After the two men discussed soils, vines, yields, irrigation, and proper pruning, Robert agreed to finance a deal with Ken if he would plant 50% Gamay. The deal was struck with a resulting vineyard of 50% Gamay and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, Mr. Mondavi guaranteeing Ken’s Cabernet “to be the highest harvest price paid in the Valley.” The support and encouragement of Robert Mondavi would allow Ken to return to his passion: his family farming heritage.
Pairs beautifully with pasta with creamy sauces, fish and seafood, grilled chicken and pork. For cheeses try Brie, Goat Cheese or Camembert.a gorgonzola and apple salad and roasted chicken.