In the state of California Chardonnay is everywhere and the second most popular grape variety behind Cabernet Sauvignon. It also happens to be one of my most preferred white varieties and so I've had my fair share of California Chardonnay's in my time here in the Golden State. Many of these have been cheap and cheerful wines that are most often found on the typical restaurant wine list and available by the glass. Many have been average at best, a few have been disappointing and every now and again one will stand out from the crowd. These standouts often have a price tag to match so I was thrilled to recently discover the Don & Son's 2010 Chardonnay, from Sonoma Coast, on sale at an independent liquor retailer for $19.99. For the time being this is the best Californian Chardonnay I've enjoyed that comes in at under $25 and I've seen it a few bucks under $20 online.
In the glass it has a nice, lemony gold colour and has a beautifully enticing aroma. On the nose are hints of tropical fruits, honey, oak and the effects of a process called Malolatic Fermentation. You can read up on what that means exactly via the hyperlink and all I can say is that it has taken me many years of research/drinking to notice when this process has been used in Chardonnay. Many newer styles of Chardonnay won't use this process at all and the description of the wine on the back label suggests this wine has only gone through the process for a short period, resulting in its effects being noticeable but not over powering.
It is simply delicious to drink and I found myself enjoying it in smaller sips and allowing the experience to linger a bit before the next taste. It has a creaminess to it that is also the result of the Malolatic Fermentation and you should also enjoy hints of green apple and pear that all meld into a truly great, medium bodied, cool climate Chardonnay.
Don & Sons 2010 Chardonnay
Price - $20 at selected retailers
Region - Sonoma Coast, California
Final Sip - Easily one of the best Chardonnay's I've had for $20 and given it doesn't appear a current vintage of the wine is being sold by the winery I better get back to the store I brought it from and stock up!