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California white wines.


porkpa
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My wife and I are going to Napa in a couple of weeks. We drink red wines exclusively. Neither one of us cares for, nor knows much about whites. A very dear friend of ours drinks only white claiming that reds give him headaches. He prefers wines that he describes as "buttery". We would like to send him a case of California whites meeting that description. Can anybody make any recommendations for Napa or Sonoma wines that he might like. We would be willing to go as high as $75 a bottle. I realize that there are not a whole lot of California afficionodos on this site, but since that is where we are going we feel that a gift of California wine would be most appropriate.

Porkpa

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For one, a "Mitsuko's Vineyard" chardonnay from Clos Pegase. Plus the artwork is the best in the valley. Vist the caves.

In Sonoma I like DeLoach in Santa Rosa, ask for the OFS Chardonnay.

My friend Tom Burgess at Burgess Vineyards (St. Helena, but up in the mountains) always makes lovely buttery whites........I have not visited him in 2 years, don't know what he's up to now but I'm certain it's delicious!

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Landmark are very good, damaris/lorenzo perhaps?

Vine cliff are favourites of mine, grapefuit and a restrained richness.

when someone says buttery, it's hard to know precisely what they mean - the distinction is one thing, but what they call buttery is another. Do they just like oak and plenty of malo for a nutty, creaminess; or just the way old style chardonnay tastes.

old style, think Phelps or even Mondavi.

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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Landmark are very good.

Before I even scrolled down far enough, my first thought was Landmark. But I think Landmark is in Sonoma County and not Napa.

Not to worry, though. You will find plenty in Napa. Try Trefethen and Silverado.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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We (Ladera) also make a buttery Chard (which is not my cup-o-tea, but who cares) under the Chateau Woltner name. If you are red wine drinkers, you may like our hefty Cabs. I've been known to give a tour or two if you want to PM me.

You shouldn't be paying $75 for a buttery Chard, BTW. That is an acceptable price for a decent Cab, but not for a white.

Alternately, if you are considering Sonoma, I moonlight at Gundlach Bundschu as their tour guide on Sundays. They make two Chards, one buttery (the Sangiacomo) and one more crisp and fruit-forward (the Rhinefarm).

PM me for info on either winery -- GunBun is open to the public 7 days a week with a formal tasting room. Ladera is an appointment-only winery and we don't make enough to taste out of bottles unless we get a slew of people here in one day (then we pull barrel samples!)

Edited to add -- I don't think there isn't a winery in Napa that DOESN'T make a butter Chardonnay (except maybe Prager Port Works), much to my chagrin...

Edited by Carolyn Tillie (log)
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My favorite California Chardonnays are from Peter Michael and Aubert. I don't think the Peter Michael vineyard is open to the public though. Either of these wines would be a special treat for a California Chardonnay enthusiast if you can get your hands on them. These wines sell for around 50-60 dollars a bottle, though some of the Peter Michael cuvees can run a bit more.

Other notable big-styled California Chardonnays you might consider are those from Kistler and Marcassin. These wines are also quite sought after and difficult to find at retail on the East Coast.

Edited by Felonius (log)
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I don't think you should limit yourself to those two counties, as there are many many good Chardonnays produced in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

From the Outstanding in the Field farm dinners, I can recommend these:

1) Anything that Dan Lee makes. He's the SF Chronicle's winemaker of the year, and his Morgan Chardonnay is one of my favorites in the world.

2) Russian Hill Winery (Sonoma)

3) Storrs Christie Vineyward Chardonnay. (They're in Santa Cruz county.)

4) Frog's Leap: John Williams is just a brilliant, wonderful guy. They're in Napa county.

5) Thomas Fogarty 2001 Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay: Michael Martella is their winemaker, and he also has his own label. If you can find anything he makes, consider yourself lucky.

And one I recommend though it's not expensive is J. Lohr Riverstone Chardonnay. I can get it on sale at my local Trader Joe's for about $10 a bottle, though it usually retails for $15 or so.

David Bruce is also a fine producer of SC Mountains Chardonnays.

Edited by tanabutler (log)
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If you can swing a trip to Sonoma County, Kunde winery is on Hwy 12 near Kenwood. About 30 minutes from Napa. Their current 2001 Chardonnay was picked by Bon Appetite as a top 10 for April. You should be able to pick it up for under $12 a bottle at a local retailer. It is very buttery. If you get to the winery, the tour is nice and the their shop has some nice gourmet items too.

Another one to check out is Vine Cliff Winery on Silverado Trail. The sign at the gate says by appointment only. Don't worry, just use the call box and they'll give you an immediate appt. Their Napa Valley Chardonnay is wonderful. Produced from grapes grown at Vine Cliff's estate vineyards and Clos Pegas' Carneros Vineyards.

If you are already on Silverado Trail, Pine Ridge is another winery that produces a really nice Chardonnay. Their 2002 Dijon-Clones Carneros Chardonnay is great and can be cellared for up to 5 years. This is our best selling Chardonnay. You should be able to find it for less than $20.

Each of the these three wineries also produce wonderful red wines.

The Vine Cliff Cabernets are very nice. Their Napa Valley Cab is medium priced and a vary good value. Their Oakville cab is spendy but well worth it.

The Pine Ridge Rutherford Cabernet has flavors of sweet dried currant, milk chocolate, vanilla, cherry, blackberry, black olive and a hint of black pepper are revealed in the nose. The price on this is under $30.

Hope this helps.

Andy Szmidt

WineMiles.com - great wines! low prices!

The early bird may get the worm. But it is the second mouse that gets the cheese.

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I'm more of a red drinker, but the butteriest (is that a word?) chard I can recall tasting is probably the Frog's Leap Napa.

I always thought buttery flavor in a chard resulted from malo, but some of the prior posts suggest other potential causes. Was I wrong?

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I always thought buttery flavor in a chard resulted from malo, but some of the prior posts suggest other potential causes. Was I wrong?

I don't think so - the more malo the more butter, as far as I know.

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All that buttery taste/mouth feel comes as a direct result of Malolactic Fermentation. Just about every single winery in California is producing their Chardonnay in this way now. I do know of one Winery that bottles an "Old School" Chardonnay from Russian River Valley grapes that has no malolactic fermentation and no Oak aging. Chateau Felice's 'Acier', the end result is very nice in contrast to the butter balls coming out of everywhere else. Check them out in the Chalk Hill appellation of Sonoma County. They also produce two Chardonnays with malo and oak, one from their Chalk hill estate and the other from the Russian River Valley.

Andy Szmidt

WineMiles.com - great wines! low prices!

The early bird may get the worm. But it is the second mouse that gets the cheese.

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