Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Alma Rosa Chardonnay 2008

The Now And Zin household is undergoing a bit of a "wine clearance," with some neglected bottles getting their propers of late.  Besides, Mrs. Now And Zin - sometimes known as Denise - is always suspicious of exactly why we need another bottle of wine when the rack is already laden with them.  My hope is that thinning out the crowd may just provide the opposite reaction: "Mr. Now And Zin, you're almost out of wine!"  I feel a wine shopping trip impending.

But back to the clearance.  Here's one of those half-bottles I purchased in the event we were suddenly in need of a picnic-basket-sized wine.  We haven't needed that convenience since then, so let's unscrew the top on an Alma Rosa.

The Alma Rosa website tells the story that it was owner and winemaker Richard Sanford who discovered that the Sta. Rita Hills were good for growing grapes, due to the traverse mountain range that pulls in the cooling ocean influence from the west.  It tells further that it was Sanford who planted grapes in the region when it was unheard of to do so.  This was in 1970, a Pinot Noir vineyard.  A sale of the original winery put him in business a little to the southwest of Buellton.

Sanford's wines generally are very well constructed with wonderful acidity, and this Chardonnay is no exception.

It sits golden in the glass, giving floral and tropical aromas to the nose.  The palate detects a bit of oak but actually, more minerality is present than those big buttery notes one might expect in a California Chardonnay.

The wine is crisp and clean, bone dry,  with just a hint of oak and a trace of candy-like fruit presence.  Winemaker Sanford says his Chardonnay has a lot in common with French Chablis, and I can taste the resemblance.  It retails at the winery for $19 per bottle.

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