Wine of the Week: 2013 Bien Nacido Vineyard Chardonnay, Castello di Amorosa

 “I'm reflective only in the sense that I learn to move forward. I reflect with a purpose.” – Kobe Bryant

Learning to move forward, is an essential concept in learning about and appreciating wine. It's hard to move forward if you simply dismiss, with the wave of the hand, all California Chardonnay as a monolithic mess of over-extraction, oak soak, and malo. I like to keep an open mind when it comes to wine, for the most part; I do have my prejudices and would be lying if I said differently. But for the most part, I'm willing to give it go, especially when it arrives on my doorstep, albeit unannounced and unsolicited, but nonetheless a very welcomed #sample

I'm pretty sure some serious reflection was done in preparing this wine, it's far better than the typical 'California' garden variety style of Chardonnay, and for that reason alone, it's my wine of the week. I'm fond of saying in regards to well put together wines, "where there's passion, there's fire" the effort that went into this wine is a direct reflection the passion and energy of the vineyards, the folks who worked the field during the harvest, and the winemaker['s] who put the final touches on the harvested grapes. 

I know, I know, I've heard all the moaning and groaning among the so-called wine intelligentsia who love to mock and scorn the audaciousness of a modern day castle built in wine country [from imported Tuscan stone] of all places. The [infamous] 'they' say it just smacks of the imperialism and at the same time flaunts capitalism oh-my. Besides that, I've heard from those same folks [via blogs and tweets] all the wine made there, is over the top or just missing the mark completely [sour grapes]. 

But if I had the coin [like the Sheriff of Nottingham] to build a castle like this one, I definitely would. Yes, it does have a real moat as well. I love it, the views from the top are as amazing as the expansive great hall inside. Instead of dismissing the wine because I may not like where it came from, I'll give it a go, examine it solely on its merits and then let the chips fall where they may. It's the very reason folks are still reading this blog, although I hear wine blogs are now out of fashion [I've heard this one before] again.

Now that I've flushed all the bilge water from the bowels of the castle, it's time to review the wine in the spotlight. Love, love the fruit produced from this vineyard site located in the gorgeous Santa Maria Valley. It's hard to recall the last time I had a glass of wine I didn't appreciate in some way or another from this site. Whether it's Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, this fantastic appellation has much to offer average vino-sapiens looking for a cut above the ordinary, factory Chardonnay. 

In this bottle, the judicious use of oak has been employed with only 50% new and 50% second use. Loving aged Sur Lie [on the yeast] and stirred for 10 months. The suggested retail price point may be a bit high for some at $38, but I believe it's worth the price of admission. Only 453 cases were produced, these bottles will quickly disappear. 

It's not often that I give domestic Chardonnay this kinda praise, but one deserves it. In both flavor and texture, this wine is rich and creamy. Prepare to be dazzled by a Chardonnay that delivers intensity and a depth of focus I rarely see. Bosc pears, peach, sweet tangerine delight the senses, nutmeg, and vanilla-scented oak take a back seat, while zesty acid drives the soccer moms minivan. Full-bodied, vibrant and the finish is memorable. Drink now and drink often, my score is 93 points. That's it for today, all the best to you, until next slurp long and prosper cheers!


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