Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Carmel Valley Chardonnay

Jarman Wines are made by the fine folks at Holman Ranch, in California's Carmel Valley. The land has changed hands many times since it was carved out of the "Crown of Spain" as a mission grant. Though many have claimed it through the years, Holman Ranch is now the property of Thomas and Jarman Lowder, who purchased it in 2006. "Recently retired," the website explains, "Thomas and Jarman decided to fulfill a lifelong dream to make estate grown wine and olive oil." So much for the retirement rocking chair.

This Carmel Valley wine is Monterey County born and bred, made from two different Chardonnay clones, 95 and 76. It is aged in new French oak barrels for five months, and the touch of wood is just about perfect. The alcohol hits a lofty 14.2% abv. Well, it would be lofty in Burgundy. In California, it's about normal. The organic and certified sustainable grapes are harvested and sorted by hand, and only seven barrels were made. It runs $45 at retail.

The wine is a pretty golden color and smells very much like citrus and earthy minerals with a faint hint of smoke thrown in. It's a titillating nose for a Chardonnay. The palate holds up the promise of the aromas. There is a strong sense of minerals up front, which gives way momentarily to a butterscotch flavor. That flavor in turn hands off to lemon-lime and notes of fresh stream water that has run over sandstone rocks to get to you. The oak make itself known, but in a very polite way. Fresh, zippy acidity feels perfect for a picnic or the Thanksgiving table.

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