An Unapologetic, Old-School California Chardonnay

An Unapologetic, Old-School California Chardonnay

This Estate Chardonnay 'has always been of the generous, overtly creamy and sensual style'

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I have been following the wines of Chalk Hill Estate for almost 20 years. Of the numerous wines they produce – and experimentation has been a big part of their success – I don’t think any has pleased me more than their original Estate Chardonnay. It has always been of the generous, overtly creamy and sensual style. One hates to use the “buttery-oaky” moniker, because that seems to conjure a negative: indicating fat, galumphing, “nothing subtle about it” to many readers. But if a big wine is balanced and refreshing, as today’s example is, it’s hard to find a more impressive white to accompany your grander dishes. One wouldn’t poo-poo a majestically bold Cabernet Sauvignon, and this 2015 Chardonnay joins similarly into those ranks. Don’t hesitate if you want your richness served up in a goblet!

2015 Chalk Hill Estate Chardonnay $42 srp

Golden straw color with green highlights. An overt cornucopia of scents, including apple, melon, pineapple and banana. A complimentary element features vanilla-coated coconut. Flavors are creamy, full-bodied yet taut and fresh. Stone fruits, and juicy lemon are joined by almond, caramel and a long finish with a salty, mineral edge to balance and lengthen it beautifully. A full-throttle style that, although delicious now, would enjoy a bit of cellar time. Try with Coquilles St. Jacques, Grouper or a luscious, Parmesan-laden risotto. Drink now-2023.

93/100 points

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Arturo Ciompi
Trained as a classical clarinetist and conductor, Arturo plied his trade for many years in New York, performing with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, New York City Opera, the American Symphony and countless chamber music groups. While living in Durham, Arturo became the wine manager at two iconic gourmet stores: Fowler’s in Durham and Southern Season in Chapel Hill. He had a wine spot on NPR in the ’90s and has been a continuously published wine journalist since 1997. He has won national awards for his work and is currently writing for Durham Magazine and its weekly blog, “Wine Wednesdays”. In addition, he loves teaching the clarinet. Read more on his website.