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SIP TIPS

The Chardonnay Shootout...
A Wine Challenge


heartheartheartheart = Love at First Sip


Ventana Vineyards 2005 Ventana Vineyard Chardonnay, Arroyo Seco, $18.00
9,000 cases produced

(96)
Male: Classic Chardonnay! The nose is evocative with toffee, molasses, apple, and pear aromas delivering voluptuous flavors onto the palate; nicely balanced with good density and complexity through the finish.

Female: In the glass, the beautiful straw color of this Chardonnay invites you to enjoy the beautiful, complex nose. This nicely structured wine delivers apple and Asian pear flavors underscored by balanced oak accents. The finish is lovely.
Valley of the Moon Winery 2006 Chardonnay, Sonoma County, $14.00
10,000 cases produced

(94)
Male: The nose is floral with tropical fruit accents. The perfectly ripe palate exhibits tasty banana, melon, cinnamon, and oak notes. Balanced with vanilla and a little toastiness on the finish.

Female: Medium gold in color. The nose is floral (honeysuckle and gardenia) with spicy fruit peaches accented with white peppercorns. The palate is similar to the nose. The wine is pretty and balanced, delicate and elegant.
Sky Saddle 2005 Arthur Baron Vineyards Chardonnay (organically grown), Russian River Valley, $24.00
106 cases produced

(94)
Male: Pure perfume aromas...vanilla, lavender with oak, lavender creme brulee, rich butterscotch. A soulful and mysterious wine.

Stonestreet Alexander Mountain Estate 2005 Chardonnay, Alexander Valley, $28.00
8,000 cases produced

(94)
Male: Green apple and pear aromas, apple flavors come across with a touch of oak displayed as toffee and butterscotch notes. Well structured...succulent, layered and complex with fresh acidity and a persistent fruit finish.

Female: Nice minerality and subtle oak on the nose with crisp pear, apricot and spice on the palate. The wine displays a lovely delicacy with nice acidity and minerality. Well structured with a long lingering finish. Will be lovely with food.
Bogle Vineyards 2006 Chardonnay, California, $9.00
150,000 cases produced

(93)
Male: The nose is clean and fresh, like fresh laundry. I like this! It's a simple, friendly Chardonnay that is devoid of complexity but is surprisingly good.

Female: Vanilla, creme brulee and floral notes on the nose. A lighter style with judicious oak. Nicely balanced.
Cakebread Cellars 2005 Chardonnay, Napa Valley, $36.00

(93)
Male: Pear and green apple on the nose. The palate is ripe with yellow stone fruit flavors adding mid-palate lift. An ideal oak regime.

Female: In the glass, the wine has a light golden hue and a very traditional Chardonnay nose - yeasty biscuit, fresh cut apples and French oak. The palate is delicate and clean with refreshing acidity and a tangy pineapple, citrus, peach, and lemon core. The lovely finish keeps ringing your bell!
Mayacamas Vineyards 2004 Chardonnay, Mount Veeder-Napa Valley, $35.00
906 cases produced

(93)
Male: Honeyed pear...the nose is clean, expressive and complete. The palate has terrific balance and juiciness. This wine has it all! Texture, weight, acidity, minerality, and a great old world style finish.

Female: Apple, pear and a touch of lemongrass in the glass with bright tropical fruit especially pineapple with toasty oak in the mouth. Nice acidity on the finish.
Mitchelton Chardonnay 2006 Estate Grown Chardonnay, Goulburn River, Victoria, Australia, $15.00
500 cases produced

(93)
Male: The men's comments on this wine were quite diverse. Two of our male panelists really liked the wine but interpreted in totally different ways. The first gentleman panelist decribed the wine as Chablis like...mineral with lively citrus notes on the nose, crisp, with lots of citrus flavors...enjoy with oysters. One of our other gentleman judges tasted a hint of residual sugar with oak and vanilla notes on the nose. A classic California style, but still fresh with butterscotch on the finish and a good acid backbone. Regardless, they liked it! They really liked it!

Female: Meyer lemon flavors with notes of peach underlying lime aromas. Crisp and clean with nice acid. Well integrated and a lovely wine.
Willowbrook 2004 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, $28.00
350 cases produced

(93)
Male: Golden color in the glass. Butterscotch nose and flavors. The wine is rich in the mouth with the ripe fruit character of warmer climate Chardonnays with some minerality late. Nice wine! Made in a rich heavy style.

Female: Rich gold in color with smoky and lemon aromas delivering stone fruit with hints of spice onto the palate. Nicely balanced with a long finish.
Blackstone Winey 2005 Reserve Chardonnay, Sonoma, $16.99
10,500 cases produced

(92)
Male: The creme brulee and toasty nose delivers green pear, apple and lemon curd flavors onto the palate. Richer style with oaky notes.

Female: Pale straw color. The butterscotch aromas shoot straight up out of the glass. Good acid. The citric mid-palate leads to a finish with hints of butter and creme caramel.
Virgin Vines 2005 Chardonnay, California, $9.99
30,000 cases produced

(92)
Male: Apple and vanilla aromas. Juicy sour apple and peach flavors with spicy backnotes. There is some nice acid and a touch of minerality on the short finish.

Female: The nose of Fuji apple with lemon backnotes carries through onto the palate finishing with crisp mouthwatering acidity.
Gallo Family Vineyards 2004 Laguna Vineyards Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, $24.00
1,650 cases produced

(92)
Male: The nose is pure key lime pie with big luscious fruit on the palate with the solid use of smoky oak. It has a long finish that goes on and on. One of our panelists called it a "Hotel California" finish.

Female: Bright gold in color. Caramelized aroma...toast with honey and orange blossoms. The oak isn't overwhelming and compliments the baked apple fruit on the palate. Soft golden delicious apple and caramel on the oily finish. One of our panelists noted..."I'd like more acidity."
Barefoot Reserve 2005 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, $18.00
5,552 cases produced

(92)
Male: A complex wine. Light butterscotch, apple and pear in the glass and in the mouth. Good racy acidity and a long finish.

Female: Inviting aromas jump from the glass! Apple, baking spice, a hint of butterscotch, and plenty of oak. The palate has wonderful lemon chiffon acidity. The mouthfeel is juicy with papaya and mango and a warm finish.
Frank Family Vineyards 2005 Chardonnay, Napa Valley, $32.50
20,000 cases produced

(92)
Male: A brawny Chardonnay with ripe apple, pear and banana notes on the nose. Baked apple and huge stone fruit dominate the palate. Acids to balance the fruit.

Female: This is a big Chardonnay. Butterscotch over ripe apple on the nose. Lots of fruit is delivered in the mouth with acid to balance.
Jekel Vineyards 2005 Chardonnay, Monterey County, $10.99
25,000 cases produced

(92)
Male: Aromas of tropical fruit, Meyer lemon and Granny Smith apple with backnotes of ripe quince replicate on the palate. Nice tactility through the considerable length. The bright acid makes this a wine to enjoy with food.

Female: Pale gold in color with rich butterscotch tones. The mouthfeel is rich and full. A balanced wine with a solid structure.
Protero Gumeracha 2006 Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, $34.95
1,500 cases produced

(92)
Male: Ripe Granny Smith apple, Bartlett pear and lemon aromas and flavors. The wine is clean and disciplined.

Female: Pale gold in color with green apple, peach and lemon aromas and flavors. The wine is lively on the palate - the acid complements the fruit. The finish is crisp and clean.
Signorello Vineyards 2005 Hope's Cuvee Chardonnay, Napa Valley, $60.00
47 cases produced

(92)
Male: Ripe red delicious with stone fruit in the glass gives way to intense peach and ripe yellow mango on entry. Creamy and viscous, smooth and balanced. A luxurious crowd pleaser.

Female: The nose is reminiscent of Burgundy with nice barnyard tones over delicate fruit and floral aromas. Smoked apples with vanilla notes. Some nice acid on the finish.
Sonoma Vineyards 2005 Chardonnay, Sonoma County, $14.99
11,520 cases produced

(92)
Male: The nose is mostly citrus with backnotes of apple and pear that are delivered onto the palate with lemon-lime on the finish. Medium weight with nice acidity and balance.

Female: A fine nose greets you. The wine is lovely and soft with a well-balanced palate. Enjoy this Chardonnay now.
Wise Vineyards 2004 Donnybrook Chardonnay, Geographe Western Australia, $46.00
500 cases produced

(92)
Male: The nose evokes visions of flower petals with hints of lemon zest. The palate delivers good solid fruit elements with a lovely racy finish.

Female: Apricot and honeysuckle on the nose. The palate is juicy with definite oak influence. A panelist noted..."Rich but more acid would be to by liking."
Bonterra Chardonnay 2005 Chardonnay, Mendocino County, $12.99
141,000 cases produced

(91)
Male: The complex blend of tropical fruit and light oak makes this an enticing wine. Banana has a starring role in the aromas and flavors. Rich with a nice finish.

Female: A pleasant wine. Ripe pear and quince aromas and flavors are joined by lemon and orange flavors mid-palate. Hints of cinnamon add interest to the palate and finish.
Fetzer Vineyards 2006 Chardonnay, California, $8.99
640,000 cases produced

(91)
Male: Citrusy lemon and orange aromas deliver Golden Delicious apple flavors. Soft, creamy and rich on the palate. Nice finish with a decent length.

Female: The citrusy nose is enhanced with notes of pear, cinnamon and clove. There is a touch of creaminess with a toasty note on the finish.
Chumeia Vineyards 2006 Chardonnay, California, $12.00
3,000 cases produced

(91)
Male: Uber rich Fuji apple, white peach and mango aromas and flavors. Voluptuous yet clean on the palate.

Female: Tangerine and floral aromas with buttery pear notes on the palate. Full bodied and tasty.
Cinnabar 2005 Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains, $27.00
275 cases produced

(91)
Male: Smoky and buttery with ripe lemon meringue and baked apple on the nose with big fruit on the palate. The finish is restrained.

Female: Proactive aromas, powerful on the palate...pears laced with lime. This wine delivers an exceedingly interesting, long finish.
Domaine Alfred 2005 Chamisal Vineyard Chardonnay, Edna Valley, $24.00
2,800 cases produced

(91)
Male: Rich cooked stone fruit and mango with banana back notes on the nose and palate. Fleshy, but ample backbone and length.

Female: Lots of oak here with heavy tropical fruit with banana joining on the palate. The oak hangs in through the finish.
Hook and Ladder 2006 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, $25.00
1,500 cases produced

(91)
Male: Nice balance of fruit and oak with a smooth finish. A complex wine that delivers the goods.

Female: Medium gold in color. The inviting nose delivers floral and mineral notes. Lovely!
Meridian Vineyards 2005 Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County, $24.00
550 cases produced

(91)
Male: Not your classic Chardonnay but enjoyable to drink. Caramel candy on the nose. Viscous with butter, ripe lemon and nectarine flavors. Big and broad in your mouth and on the finish - 200% ML? I like this but would drink it as a cocktail wine not to team with food.

Female: Gold in color. Lots of butter and vanilla elements in the nose and in the mouth. Creamy - coats the palate. A great wine for those who love big buttery Chardonnay.
Owl Ridge Vineyard Select 2004 Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, $32.00
300 cases produced

(91)
Male: Super rich butterscotch and baked apple aromas. The palate is very complex with lemon curd, baked apple and cinnamon. Endearing tactility through the enduring length.

Female: Toasty, but not overpowering oak on the nose. Baked apple, spiced cinnamon and traditional Chardonnay flavors on the full juicy palate. The wine displays bright acidity and is balanced with medium heat and alcohol.
Rockfield Estate 2007 Chardonnay, Margaret River Western Australia, Australia, $28.00
800 cases produced

(91)
Male: This is a beautiful wine but our male panelists found it more Sauvignon Blanc-like than representative of Chardonnay. The wine is fun with a racy minerality. The lemongrass notes over bright peach aromas seamlessly move onto the palate with enduring fruit through the persistent finish.

Female: The women agreed with the men on this wine...I like this wine! Lemon and lime aromatics with pear and some pineapple on the palate. Nice acid, Sauvignon Blanc-like. But all gave it high marks.
Rockfield Estate 2006 Reserve Chardonnay, Margaret River Western Australia, Australia, $38.00
150 cases produced

(91)
Male: Nice color with rich tropical fruit and buttery notes in the glass. In the mouth, this is a nice Chardonnay; buttery and rich. A big Chardonnay that is toasty and then some.

Female: Apple and pear fruit throughout balanced by the nice acid. Creamy and buttery with lots of toasty oak elements.
Rodney Strong Vineyards 2005 Chalk Hill Estate Chardonnay, Chalk Hill, $20.00
58,600 cases produced

(91)
Male: Ripe Granny Smith apple and Meyer lemon aromas with a ripe quince back, an anise chaser and distinct raw cedar wafts from the glass. The entry is lifted lemon and green apple. The palate is fresh apple that is nicely balanced with butterscotch notes. There is light wood on the medium length finish.

Female: The nose is spicy with sweet pear and creme brulee layers. Lots of acid on the palate that complements the gobs of tropical fruit. Exceedingly pleasant!
Schug Carneros Estate 2006 Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, $20.00
7,309 cases produced

(91)
Male: Light lemon, green apple, green melon, and Bartlett pear in the nose. Stone fruit in the mouth with more viscosity than portended. Ripe, round and soft.

Female: The white peach aroma is complemented by a pleasant old library aroma. The palate surprises with bright acidity. On the long finish are some white peach and white nectarine flavors. It is a touch hot on the finish keeping this from scoring at the very top.
The Little Penguin 2006 Chardonnay, South Australia, $8.00
70,000 cases produced

(91)
Male: Fleshy, soft and easy to drink. Baked apple and a touch of fig throughout.

Female: Oak and brown spice on the nose with a round and soft palate. Apple pie flavors dominate with a hint of sliced banana. There is a little residual sugar here. A pleasant sipper.
Vina Robles 2005 Edna Ranch Chardonnay, Edna Valley, San Luis Obispo, $17.00
714 cases produced

(91)
Male: Aromas of caramel and oak deepen as the wine opens revealing additional oak elements. A smooth and balanced wine with tropical fruit components, great acid and minerality. Clean and fresh. Heavy malolactic fermentation but it works here.

Female: Lemon on the nose with oak accents jumping in. Nice acid complements the tropical fruit and oak notes.
Wise 2005 Pemberton Reserve Chardonnay, Pemberton, Western Australia, $29.00
1,500 cases produced

(91)
Male: The slight butterscotch on the nose from the subtle oak blends seamlessly with the Chardonnay fruit flavors. Juicy and bright. Nicely balanced. Lovely finish. Well made!

Female: An attractive nose with lemon-lime accents deliver the same onto the palate. Nice acid with a bit of pith on the finish. Not a complex wine but should be great with grilled sea bass.
Carmel Road 2005 Chardonnay, Monterey, $14.00
3,089 cases produced

(90)
Male: Clean and vibrant with ripe citrus aromatics. Nectarine and mango flavors balanced with clean acidity.

Female: Green gold in color displaying its youthfulness. Green apple with mineral notes. The apple comes through on the palate where it is joined by sweet stone fruit. The wine has nice acid. It is refreshing. Not complex but very enjoyable.
Chateau Potelle 2005 V.G.S. Chardonnay, Mount Veeder, $45.00
2,500 cases produced

(90)
Male: Rich oak, butterscotch and apple aromas with some of the apple fruit coming through onto the palate. Medium weight, nice acidity and balance.

Female: Pale to light gold in color with perfumed tropical fruit on the nose...jasmine, white flowers and pineapple with vanilla bean notes, similar flavors on the palate with added accents of honeysuckle and grassiness. The palate is a bit angular with lots of toasty oak elements. Good acidity.
Destino 2005 Chardonnay, Napa Valley, $32.00
600 cases produced

(90)
Male: The nose is pleasant with apple and oak. Nice fruit complimented by acid. Balanced.

Female: The nose and mouth are consistent - creme brulee and lemony. Creamy mid-palate with a toasty and tingly finish.
Destino 2004 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, $38.00
600 cases produced

(90)
Male: Butterscotch and lemon curd on the nose, butterscotch on the palate. This is a big style Chardonnay.

Female: A woodsy nose with butterscotch and earth notes throughout. The palate has minerality and subtle apple added to the earth tones. A complex wine.
Dry Creek Vineyard 2005 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, $20.00
15,791 cases produced

(90)
Male: Molasses, coconut, apple, and pear on the nose with solid stone fruit on entry. The stone fruit is delivered over the mid-palate where it is accented by brown spice notes. The delicious finish is long and honeyed.

Female: A nicely balanced wine that is best described as yummy in the mouth. One of our panelists atated..."Personally, I would like a bit more acid on the finish to better compliment food."
Red Bicyclette 2005 Chardonnay, Vin de Pays d'Oc, France, $12.00
100,000 cases produced

(90)
Male: Fuji apple, flint and subtle cedar in the glass. There is lemon, apple and cedar in the mouth. This Chardonnay is clean and lean with a crisp acidity in the finish that would cut through Alfredo sauce.

Female: Rose water and candied tropical fruit in the glass and in the mouth. The palate has pear flavors and moderate acidity. This is a very drinkable wine, creamy but balanced.
Turning Leaf Vineyards 2005 Chardonnay, California, $7.99
400,000 cases produced

(90)
Male: Complex fruit with rich color and flavor. Medium acidity. A wine for all seasons!

Female: The crowds will love this one. Rich gold in color. Oak and butter on the nose. Rich and heavy on the palate with sweet fruit.
Guenoc 2006 Chardonnay, Lake County, $16.00
4,800 cases produced

(90)
Male: Golden Delicious apple and Asian pear in the nose and on entry. On the mid-palate, lemony custard flavors join in. Nice viscosity with a buttery finish.

Female: Pale straw color in the glass with a perfumey nose - sweet fruit, honey and cinnamon. Tangerine and other citrus flavors in the mouth. Nice!
Handley Cellars 2005 Estate Chardonnay, Anderson Valley, $20.00
1,595 cases produced

(90)
Male: Ripe Fuji and Bosc pear aromas with underlying mineral back accents. The aromas carry through onto the palate. The Bosc pear hangs in through the finish. Good acidity!

Female: The aromas that waft out of the glass are all about fruit...pineapple, banana and ripe pear layered with spice. The mouth is creamy with vanilla accents. A lovely wine with nice acidity.
Hook and Ladder 2005 Estate Grown and Bottled Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, $16.00
2,818 cases produced

(90)
Male: A touch of oak, ripe melon and lemon citrus on the nose delivering peach and lychee with a burst of citrus on the palate. Nice fruit and oak profile.

Female: Smoky. A nicely balanced wine with crisp acidity. Pleasant.
La Crema Winery 2005 Chardonnay, Russian River, $27.00
6,000 cases produced

(90)
Male: Smoky lemon, butterscotch and caramel aromas. Subtle, understated entry that crescendos with stone fruit medium to late with oak overtones. There is a tad of residual sugar but that's mitigated by the acidity.

Female: The delicate florals dance over the heavy oak and tropical aromas. Full mouthfeel full but goes down easy.
Longoria 2005 Chardonnay, Santa Rita Hills, $40.00
141 cases produced

(90)
Male: Very toasty with lots of oak and ripe fruit on the nose and in the mouth. Candied pineapple on the finish in this low acid, sweet and showy wine.

Female: In the glass, the wine is medium gold in color with lots of spice on both the nose and palate. Cinnamon and nutmeg enhance the peach and butterscotch flavors. A very nice wine in an oaky, buttery Chardonnay style.
Pend d'Oreille Winery 2005 Vickers Vineyard Chardonnay, Idaho, $13.00
745 cases produced

(90)
Male: The pineapple fruit on the nose is complimented by toasty and smoky aromas. Nice entry. The fruit is joined by butterscotch. The wine is polished and firm with a great finish.

Female: Caramel, baked apple, vanilla, and toasty flavors waft from the glass delivering the same onto the palate. Lemon pith and oak accents join in on the long finish.
Schug Carneros Estate 2005 Chardonnay, Carneros, $24.00
5,525 cases produced

(90)
Male: The nose is classic butterscotch, lemon curd and rich baked apple with toasty lemon and banana added in the mouth. There is a lush viscosity here with lift and length.

Female: Buttery with campfire smokiness in the glass. Smooth and creamy with soft acid.
Stephen's 2005 MacBride Chardonnay, York Mountain, $28.00
250 cases produced

(90)
Male: Diffuse, muted aromatics giving way to expressive fruit on the palate - mangoes, peach and tangy orange peel. Nice, warm barrel elements on the nose evolving into caramel, creme brulee and honey flavors. Some nice density to the wine and light acidity on the finish.

Female: Toasted marshmallow nose with pretty entry evolving into flavors of pear and melon. Nice balance.
Lindemans 2006 Bin 65 Chardonnay, South Eastern Australia, $8.00
440,000 cases produced

(90)
Male: Focused and clean with tropical fruit and a hint of oak on the nose. The ripe apple and Crenshaw melon flavors are balanced nicely with acid. There is a touch of heat on the finish.

Female: The intriguing vanilla bean aroma with mellow but luscious tropical fruit evolves into rounded peach, Bosc pear and pineapple flavors accented by bright acidity. Light and easy to enjoy. Flawless!

heartheartheart = An Affair to Remember


Bernardus 2005 Chardonnay, Monterey County, $20.00
26,804 cases produced

(89)
Male: Perfect smoke regime both on the nose and palate. The wine shows disciplined winemaking. Some lemon and peach on the palate. This wine is well orchestrated and deft.

Female: Creme brulee on the nose moving to oak and apple elements of the palate with some acid. Lemon and lemon pith on the finish.
Blackstone Winey 2005 Chardonnay, Monterey County, $11.99
120,000 cases produced

(89)
Male: The nose is clean and complex: with citrus, lime, apple, qumquat, and other tropical notes. There is residual sugar on the palate creating a juicy wine with lemon and cream accents. Too much wood detracts.

Female: The smokiness is the predominant aroma in the glass with a bit of pear that peeks out. The flavors are fairly complex heightened by a touch of sweetness. The oak wins out, dominating the finish, but not overpoweringly so.
Little Black Dress 2005 Chardonnay, California, $9.99
35,000 cases produced

(89)
Male: Easy to drink. Ripe fruit. This is juicy with a nice finish. A party wine.

Female: Tropical fruit on the palate joined by squeezed lemon juice and lemon pith accents on the finish. Every man (or should I say, every woman) wine.
Chalk Hill 2004 Estate Grown Chardonnay, Chalk Hill, $45.00
15,500 cases produced

(89)
Male: A hedonistic wine. Peach cobbler on the nose with an ample, viscous palate and a toasty finish.

Female: The nose heavy oak nose with some sweet fruit. Apple and pear flavors meld nicely on the clean palate. The wine has a pretty structure and finishes with butterscotch accents.
Davis Family Vineyards 2005 Dutton Ranch Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, $35.00
800 cases produced

(89)
Male: Ripe baked apple, melon and a touch of mixed tropicals backed with oak. Fleshy and rich. Well made in a rich, heavy style.

Female: The aroma of ripe peaches, floral notes and soft oak evolve into nice, round stone fruit on the palate with an almost effervescent note. There is butterscotch on the mid-palate. Nicely balanced with a mouthwatering finish.
Mirassou Sun 2005 Chardonnay, Monterey County, $12.00
144,825 cases produced

(89)
Male: A rich and buttery nose with apple and pear in the mouth. Medium weight. Nice balance and finish.

Female: Pale gold in color. Citrus on the nose. Sweet apple on the palate. Nice acidity, a great sipper!
Gann Family Cellars 2006 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, $24.00
650 cases produced

(89)
Male: Lemon and orange zest in the nose. The wine has a nice presence with green apple, citrus and vibrant acidity on the palate. Good wine.

Female: Golden Delicious apple and Bosc pear in the glass turns tropical on the palate with lemon on the finish.
King Ferry Winery 2005 Treleaven Chardonnay, New York State, $13.99
1,370 cases produced

(89)
Male: The ripe peach and nectarine nose is replicated perfectly on the palate and continues through the finish. Fleshy and extremely ripe.

Female: Bright pineapple on the nose carries through onto the palate with a touch of acid. There is a minerality underscoring the pear and citrus on the finish.
Parducci 2006 Chardonnay, Mendocino County, $9.99
14,000 cases produced

(89)
Male: Ripe lemon and Bartlett pear nose, yeah! Racy Gravenstein applesauce on the palate through the lengthy finish.

Female: Fresh green apple and pear fruit aromas. The fruit comes through with a touch of citrus on the palate thinning a bit mid but with acid to carry through the finish.
Rodney Strong Vineyards 2005 Chardonnay, Sonoma County, $15.00
185,000 cases produced

(89)
Male: Light golden in color. The smoky yellow peach aromas are delivered onto the palate. The wine is clean. It exhibits judicious use of malolactic fermentation and oak. Simple and well made.

Female: A pale gold hue with apple, pear and a touch of vanilla on the nose. Delivers the same on the palate. Some acid and oak on the finish.
Spelletich Cellars 2005 Ghisletta Vineyard Chardonnay, Carneros, Napa Valley, $35.00
528 cases produced

(89)
Male: Golden color. Caramel, butterscotch and stone fruit. Rich tasting. Malolactic fermentation is evident.

Female: Bright gold in color with vanilla and baked apple on the nose and palate. Buttery.
The Williamsburg Winery 2005 Vintage Reserve Chardonnay, Virginia
444 cases produced

(89)
Male: Apple and pear fruit on the nose carries through onto the palate where it is joined by citrus and lemon vibrancy. Zippy and toasty. The finish is a bit short.

Female: Pale straw color with a green tinge. This is a youthful wine. The nose and palate is flinty and would be great with shellfish.
Arroyo Robles Winery 2006 Chardonnay, Monterey, $22.00
300 cases produced

(88)
Male: Great nose with elegant fruit and subtle oak. Sweet Golden Delicious apples, lemon curd and a nice bitter edge on entry which softens on the palate. The wine is slightly sweet with a light spritziness on the finish.

Female: The spicy nose has tropical fruit notes - banana and papaya. The palate is round with lots of fruit. The finish is enhanced with vanilla and caramel flavors.
Cakebread Cellars 2004 Reserve Chardonnay, Carneros, $52.00

(88)
Male: The color is golden, honeylike. Lemon curd and green apple on the nose, follow through nicely on the palate with a good dose of butterscotch. There is a solid minerality on the palate with good balance and structure on this mid-weight wine.

Female: A nicely integrated wine with plenty of oak on the nose, sweet vanilla, apple, juicy pear, and banana notes on the palate; toasted marshmallows with nice acid notes on the finish.
Domaine Alfred 2005 Goss Creek Chardonnay, Edna Valley, $20.00
2,800 cases produced

(88)
Male: Light in color with clean Fuji apple and Asian pear with cinnamon spice accents. Citrus on the palate with a hint of pear. This wine has seamless continuity with nice length.

Female: Sweet Delicious apple on the nose with nectarine on the mid-palate and lemon peel flavors on the finish. Nice acid. An easy sipping wine.
Black Swan 2006 Chardonnay, Southeastern Australia, $8.00
400000 cases produced

(88)
Male: Honeyed apple aromas and flavors. Soft on the palate with some mineral notes and good acid on the finish.

Female: Butterscotch and creamy caramel on the palate with banana and pear fruit. This wine has sweet fruit with a hint of cinnamon spice.
Frei Brothers Reserve 2005 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, $20
25,615 cases produced

(88)
Male: Fuji apple and Asian pear aromas deliver the same onto the palate where oak elements - vanilla and brown baking spice notes complete the package. Enjoy on the porch. Additional acidity would make this wine more compatible with food.

Female: In the glass this wine is golden in color with stone fruit aromas. On the creamy palate, vanilla and cinnamon join the stone to round out the wine. Lovely.
Gallo Family Vineyards 2003 Estate Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, $50.00
602 cases produced

(88)
Male: The initial aromas are floral, joined by lemon, lime and a hint of oak. The palate has a nice minerality with lemon curd and citrus flavors. The finish is smoky finish.

Female: There is lime peel and gingerbread on the nose. The wine is lean with stone fruit mid-palate. The oak is prominent on the finish.
McWilliams Hanwood Estate 2005 Chardonnay, Southeastern Australia, $12.00
40,000 cases produced

(88)
Male: Lemon, lime and pear on the nose. A lot of lemon and green apple on the palate with lots of vibrant, fresh acidity throughout.

Female: Citrus and stone fruit in the nose with the addition of grapefruit on the palate. Lots of refreshing acidity throughout.
Gloria Ferrer Carneros 2005 Chardonnay, Carneros, $18.00
19,000 cases produced

(88)
Male: High-toned green apple, citrus, butter, and rich oak on the nose and palate. Chablis style with decent acidity.

Female: Floral notes on the nose. Apple on the palate with tart lemon on the finish.
Hagafen 2006 Chardonnay, Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley, $24.00
900 cases produced

(88)
Male: Coconut butter on the nose with lemon and butterscotch in the mouth. Round and smooth.

Female: If you like buttery Chardonnays, this one's for you. Lots of oak on the nose, palate and on the finish.
Handley Cellars 2005 Handley Vineyard Chardonnay, Dry Creek Valley, $20
1,987 cases produced

(88)
Male: Attention to detail on this Chardonnay is obvious. Caramel and butterscotch on the nose. Mellow on palate with Meyer lemon, orange, apple, and toasty oak elements.

Female: Tropical fruit, mainly pineapple on the nose and on the palate. Oak is prominent on the finish but there is still lively acid to balance.
Jeriko Estate 2005 Chardonnay, Mendocino, $19.50
2,018 cases produced

(88)
Male: Citrus and tropical notes on the nose are replicated on the palate. Rich and crisp. Nice!

Female: An interesting wine. What starts out as a clean crisp fruit driven Chardonnay develops a lovely creaminess mid-palate through the finish where nice acidity kicks in.
Kenwood Vineyards 2006 Chardonnay, Sonoma County, $15.00
70,000 cases produced

(88)
Male: Sweet, ripe peaches front to back with lots of sweet fruit late.

Female: Lots of sweet stone fruit throughout. Oak is a bit heavy handed but still a nice wine.
Hartford Court 2005 Four Hearts Vineyards Chardonnay, Russian River, $40.00
11,000 cases produced

(88)
Male: Baked apple and butterscotch aromas follow through onto the palate. There is a touch of bitterness in the mid-palate, with a subtle smokiness on the finish.

Female: The pure fruit nose exudes ripe mango. A creaminess joins the tropical fruit on the palate. This young wine has quite a bit of acid. Should work with food and age nicely.
Rodney Strong Vineyards 2005 Reserve Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, $30.00
1,430 cases produced

(88)
Male: Lemon curd laced with green apple and pear aromas follow through nicely on the palate with a hint of butterscotch and balanced acidity with a complex, lingering finish. Classic!

Female: Oaky, buttery popcorn on the nose. There is sweet fruit in the mouth - underlying pear & apple notes. Full blown malolactic fermentation.
Wolf Blass 2006 Yellow Label Chardonnay, South Australia, $12.00
20,000 imported cases produced

(88)
Male: A nice wine with smoky green apple aromas, citrus with persimmon notes with some steely minerality mid to late palate. It finishes with nice acidity.

Female: Tangerine and pear on the nose delivering the flavors onto the palate with a note of creaminess. Nice acid on the finish - nice wine.
Arroyo Robles 2005 Chardonnay, Monterey County, $24.00
226 cases produced

(87)
Male: Honey and floral accents on the nose. The palate is solid with a lingering finish.

Female: Lemon curd and butterscotch on the nose - there is some oxidation here. The butterscotch palate has a nice, rich, buttery, smooth mouthfeel.
Bargetto Winery 2005 Regan Estate Vineyards Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains, $20.00
527 cases produced

(87)
Male: Oak and caramel aromas over cooked peaches but the flavors are not over ripe on the palate. Peach play all the way.

Female: The aromatics are full of butterscotch and creamy vanilla. Rich on the palate - oozing peaches and apricots with smoky accents. Nice depth and profile.
Barefoot Cellars NV Chardonnay, California, $6.00

(87)
Male: Lemon and honeysuckle aromas with toasty oak. Well balanced.

Female: Lemony nose with baked apple flavors. Nice acid.
Frostwatch Vineyard & Winery 2005 Chardonnay, Bennett Valley, $29.00
220 cases produced

(87)
Male: Very toasty oak on the nose with Meyer lemon and nectarine flavors on the palate with a layer of smokiness that carries through the finish where it is joined by nice acid.

Female: The nose is oaky and carries throughout the wine. Citrus flavors are dominant on the palate and the lemon and oak elements carry through the finish.
Guenoc 2005 Genevieve Magoon Chardonnay, Guenoc Valley, $25.00
500 cases produced

(87)
Male: Buttered toast and minerality on the nose. This wine has a Burgundian spirit. The palate is creamy. The aromas are defined on the palate. The interplay of the quality fruit creates a blueprint for classic chardonnay.

Female: The nose is oasted oak and nuts with pretty apple pie and a bit of orange peel in the mouth. The finish is a bit hot and bitter.
Lake Sonoma Winery 2006 Chardonnay, Russian River, $17
5,550 cases produced

(87)
Male: The nose dances. The palate is unique - powdery, silky, nutty (almond, pecan and marzipan). This wine with its medium acid and decent balance is very pleasant.

Female: A different kind of Chardonnay. The nose and palate exhibit cream, nutmeg and cinnamon with a wood application that I don't usually see on Chardonnay. There is a touch of heat on the finish.
Mayacamas Vineyards 2001 Chardonnay, Napa Valley, $50.00
1,500 cases produced

(87)
Male: Golden in color, a very restrained wine with subdued green apple and pear aromas and flavors.

Female: A lovely older Chardonnay that has aged well. Stone fruit aromas and flavors with flashes of brilliant acidity. One panelist wrote, "This reminds me of some of the older Chablis that I have been fortunate enough to taste in my career." Enjoy over the next year or two.
Mill Creek Vineyards & Winery 2005 Reserve Chardonnay, Dry Creek Valley, $25.00
200 cases produced

(87)
Male: Tart lemon with chamomile backnotes in the glass and on the palate. A leaner style Chardonnay.

Female: A pleasant Chardonnay. Apple and lemon on the nose with lemon pith mid-palate added through the finish.
Robert Craig 2005 Durell Vineyard Chardonnay, Sonoma Valley, $45
506 cases produced

(87)
Male: A big, brawny wine with pineapple, toasted oak and lychee throughout.

Female: Minty apple on the nose. The palate is pleasantly sweet with oak accents.
Signorello Vineyards 2005 Vieilles Vignes Chardonnay, Napa Valley, $38
289 cases produced

(87)
Male: This is the Chardonnay to enjoy on the 4th of July or Veteran's Day. This is a good slice of American Chardonnay - real red, white & blue juice. Mango and honeydew melon throughout.

Female: The nose is toasty and earthy with out revealing much fruit. There are lemon flavors revealed mid-palate. The oak carries through onto the finish.
Wise Vineyards 2004 Pemberton Reserve Chardonnay, Pemberton, Western Australia, $29.00
1,500 cases produced

(87)
Male: The pineapple and citrus aromas lead to a wine that is a little sweet on the palate and a touch hot on the finish.

Female: The spicy oak nose leads to nice fruit mid-palate with toasty oak on the finish. A tasty wine.
Woodward Canyon Winery 2006 Chardonnay, Washington, $36.00
727 cases produced

(87)
Male: The nose is mostly lemon and under ripe stone fruit but delivers riper fruit on the palate. Nice texture that crescendos through the considerable length.

Female: Lemon curd and citrus on the nose and palate. A bit hot on the finish.
Bargetto Winery 2005 Regan Estate Vineyards Reserve Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains, $30.00
168 cases produced

(86)
Male: This Chardonnay is unique - atypical. Rich with balancing acidity.

Female: A very different style of Chardonnay. Nicely balanced with oak, fruit and acid.
Redwood Creek 2006 California, Chardonnay, $7.99
xxx cases produced

(86)
Male: Sweet Red Delicious apple aromas. Baked apple crisp on the palate. Simple, drinkable. Juicy throughout. Unsophisticated but a good party wine.

Female: A quaffer. Juicy aromas and flavors that are reminiscent of cinnamon applesauce. Lemon-lime accents on the finish.
JanKris Winery 2005 Bethel Road Vineyard Chardonnay, Paso Robles, $9.99
840 cases produced

(86)
Male: Bartlett pear and lemon on the nose. Apple on the palate. The finish starts out tart and then there is an unusual hit of sweetness at the end.

Female: Pear and apple aromas and flavors. Clean and crisp. Nice wine!
Justin Vineyards & Winery 2006 Reserve Chardonnay, Paso Robles, $25.00
900 cases produced

(86)
Male: Jasmine and under ripe peach aromas. On the palate the wine is racy with lots of lemony acid on the finish.

Female: Floral notes over a backbone of oak. The fruit is subdued with acid predominant. Simple.
Penfolds 2006 Koonunga Hill Chardonnay, Koonunga Hill, $11.00
33,000 imported cases produced

(86)
Male: An unusual Chardonnay. The nose is spicy with guava and fig notes. Sweet applesauce and toasty flavors. Vague Chardonnay persona but pleasant.

Female: A spicy, unusual Chardonnay. There is something in the nose that I can't quite describe in the nose. Curry? Not quite enough fruit mid-palate.
The Williamsburg Winery 2005 John Adlum Chardonnay, Virginia, $10.00
3,090 cases produced

(86)
Male: Fruity and easy to drink. Not your typical California style.

Female: Crisp and mellow. Simple and unassuming Chardonnay.
Vina Robles 2006 Edna Ranch Chardonnay, Edna Valley, San Luis Obispo, $17.00
728 cases produced

(86)
Male: Apple and pear aromas. The palate is far more vibrant then portended, leaning toward stone fruit mid to late with persistent length.

Female: The green apple nose is elusive at first. Pleasant lemon and lemon pith flavors with nice acid on the finish.
White Oak Vineyards & Winery 2005 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, $20.00
6,096 cases produced

(86)
Male: The nose is muted with ripe stone fruit on opening - peach and buttery popcorn notes. On the palate, oaky rich with a hint of pear. Lots of oak on the palate, a bit of heat on the medium length finish.

Female: The color is gold and rich. Toasted hazelnut and apricot aromas. The palate is the same. I would like a bit more acid.
Wise Vineyards 2005 Donnybrook Vineyard Chardonnay, Geographe Western Australia, $46.00
500 cases produced

(86)
Male: Dusty fruit on the nose with pineapple and citrus - a little sweet and a bit hot.

Female: Spicy oak nose, nice fruit mid-palate with toasty oak on the finish. Pretty tasty.
Sebeka 2006 Chardonnay, Western Cape, South Africa
70,000 cases produced

(85)
Male: If Chardonnay ever has a gamey nose, this is it...bacon-wrapped fig. It is nutty on the palate and the aromas carry through too. The palate is surprisingly gamey. "Intriguing but not my style," noted one of our panelists.

Female: Apple and lemon from start to finish. A fairly simple wine.
Schug Carneros Estate 2005 Chardonnay, Carneros, $30.00
396 cases produced

(85)
Male: Tropical fruit with barnyard notes in the glass. The palate is a bit toasty with roasted pear flavors and a nutty finish.

Female: This is a sipper. Appears to have some residual sugar and lacks the acid to complement food.
Tamayo 2006 Chardonnay, Sonoma County, $20.00
575 cases produced

(85)
Male: Ripe, tropical, (pineapple, banana) aromas and flavors. Finishes short.

Female: Fresh apple aroma and flavor. Light and easy.
Five Rivers 2005 Chardonnay, Monterey County, $9.99
40000 cases produced

(84)
Male: Simple wine, basically reminds me of the fruit cocktail my mother used to serve as one of my fruit servings daily.

Female: A pleasant wine.
Gallo Family Vineyards 2005 Sonoma Reserve Chardonnay, Sonoma County, $15.00
64,000 cases produced

(84)
Male: This is a honey-centric Chardonnay on the nose. Lemon and orange notes on the palate. Good weight and body with lots of honey notes.

Female: Simple one-dimensional Chardonnay.
Justin Vineyards & Winery 2006 Chardonnay, Paso Robles, $19.75
5,300.00 cases produced

(84)
Male: In the glass, there is a slight golden hue. Aromas of pears, honeydew and melon. The mid-palate is short and tight. The finish is tangy and citrus-like.

Female: The nose is elusive but there are some vanilla notes once the wine starts to open. There is a narrow band of flavors delivered onto the palate. The finish is a bit acidic.
Laura Zahtila Vineyards 2006 Chardonnay, Napa Valley, $18.00
1700 cases produced

(84)
Male: Vanilla notes on the nose, a touch of creaminess on the palate. Short finish.

Female: The nose is elusive with light apple and pear flavors on the palate. Oak accents from mid-palate through the finish.
Dancing Bull 2005 Chardonnay, California, $12.00
100,944 cases produced

(83)
Male: Pears, peaches and jasmine on the nose. A big, fat wine in the mouth. The finish is short.

Female: This Chardonnay is not one that was preferred by our female panelists. Everything was in the middle and you know how women hate fat middles.
Eberle Winery 2006 Estate Bottled Chardonnay, Paso Robles, $16.00
2600 cases produced

(83)
Male: Tropical and stone fruit aromas and flavors. There is acid here. A pleasant enough sipper.

Female: In the glass, the wine is gold in color, with sweet candied dried tropical fruit aromas. In the mouth the flavors are predominantly diced pineapple. One of our panelists wrote, "The acidity is balanced but the wine is slightly odd, something seems out of place, I'm just not sure what."
Inspiration Vineyards 2005 Estate Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, $18.00
170 cases produced

(83)
Male: The nose is closed with hints of tart stone fruit delivering lean flavors onto the palate.

Female: Lemon curd aromas carrying through onto the palate with some nice citrus fruit flavors. Nice acidity.
Gallo Family Vineyards 2004 Two Rock Vineyard Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, $28.00
1,040 cases produced

(82)


Female: The nose is like a fresh fruit salad that is heavy on the bananas with smoky overtones. Lemon citrus flavors are displayed on the palate. The finish is a little astringent.
King Ferry Winery 2005 Treleaven Reserve Chardonnay, New York State, $16.99
575 cases produced

(82)
Male: The candied pineapple aromas and flavors turn tart on the back of the palate through the finish.

Female: Sweet candied fruit in the nose and mid-palate. The sweet fruit is offset by lemon pith flavors on the finish.
Lakewood Vineyards 2005 Chardonnay, Finger Lakes, $12.99
630 cases produced

(82)
Male: If you like buttery Chardonnay, you'll like this wine. The oak dominates the fruit but has redeeming acid on the finish.

Female: Toasty and buttery throughout. A sipper.
Silver Stone 2005 Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley, $25.00
672 cases produced

(82)
Male: The nose and palate are sweet with candied apple notes throughout.

Female: Cinnamon and spiced apple cider throughout. One of our panelists asked, "This is a very tasty beverage but is this what I want from Chardonnay?"
Stone Creek 2005 Unoaked Chardonnay, Mendocino County, $8.99
4,197 cases produced

(82)
Male: Muted tropical aromas deliver diffuse mango and banana flavors onto the palate. The finish is silent.

Female: A simple sipper.
Dragon's Hollow 2005 Chardonnay, Eastern Foot of Helan Mountain,China, $12.99
20,000 cases produced

(81)
Male: Baked apple pie spice on the nose moving into smoky notes on the palate with what starts as some tropical notes and moves to earthiness.

Female: Minerally aromas carry through onto the palate with earthy qualities and some apple fruit flavors. Check out this unique package - fun as a gift or for a Chinese dinner.
The Williamsburg Winery 2005 Acte 12 Chardonnay, Virginia, $16.00
1,696 cases produced

(81)
Male: Lemon curd and some metallic notes in the background. Fleshy entry, soft on the palate with a short finish.

Female: Simple.
St. Julian 2005 ST. J Chardonnay, Lake Michigan Shore, $9.99
1,600 cases produced

(80)
Male: Pleasant, simple wine.

Female: Apple throughout. Sweet on the palate and the finish.
Black Opal 2006 Chardonnay, South Australia, $8.00
53,000 imported cases produced

(80)
Male: The nose has sweet and tart apple elements that don't draw me in. The palate is better with a touch of citrus. Simple.

Female: The nose is strange, reminding me of Sweet Tart candies from my childhood. The palate is ok and the finish is sweet.