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Dear Friend,

As popular as it has become to bash Chardonnay, I have to say my love and appreciation of this grape has only gotten stronger. From crisp Chablis to full throttle California Cult Chardonnays, the incredible diversity of flavors that Chardonnay is able to achieve is impressive; simply put, there is a Chardonnay for everybody. The trick, in my opinion, is to find Chardonnays made with judicious restraint, balancing natural California opulence with pretty acidity. We have made a tremendous amount of Chardonnay over the years in a variety of different styles and today’s releases reflect two of what I like to think of as California’s more successful directions. 

The first release is Lot 320 2010 Arroyo Seco Chardonnay, a continuation of the 2009 Arroyo Seco program that was probably the fastest selling wine we have ever brought to the table. What I love about Arroyo Seco (located in Monterey County in the Central Coast area) is the combination of tropical fruit and killer acidity, a feature of the cool, maritime-influenced climate. Lot 320 Chardonnay is barrel fermented in 70% new American oak, uplifting a panoply of tropical fruit flavors like mango, pineapple and coconut, all carried on a bright beam of honeyed acidity. 100% Malolactic fermentation imparts a kiss of butter/butterscotch, backed up with vanilla bean notes. Absolutely delicious! If you liked our previous Arroyo Seco releases, you will love Lot 320.

The second release is Lot 324 2010 Atlas Peak Chardonnay. Lot 324 is a continuation of our Atlas Peak Chardonnay program in terms of fruit-sourcing, but a change in direction when it comes to wine-style. With the addition of barrel fermentations, partial malolactic fermentation (about 30% of the wine went through malo) and an increase in new French and Hungarian cooperage (to 30%), the resulting style is bolder and richer while still respecting the beautiful floral aromatics and ripe tree fruit. The nose is layered with orange blossom, lemon curd, and toasted almond aromatics underpinned with spicy pear and apple aromas. The palate is unctuous with creamy oak, but lifted and complex with ripe pear, pretty minerality and honeysuckle notes. There is tremendous length to this wine despite its youth, indicating there is more here to come. I should also mention that the Chardonnay brand attached to the vineyard just scored 94 and 93 points respectively for their 2009 and 2010 from Wine Advocate, both with price tags well over $30. 

Both of these wines achieve the balance necessary for great California Chardonnay – the confluence of fruit, oak, and acid that makes for layers of depth and complexity. 

As always, please don't hesitate to call us at 1-800-805-1971 or email us with your questions about these or any other wine. We're always happy to hear from you.


Cameron Hughes

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toll 800 805 1971 | phone 415 495 1350 | email 251 Rhode Island St. San Francisco, CA 94103

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