Top 100 Wines: Chardonnay

DeLoach Vineyards
2012 Ritchie Vineyard Middle Reach Russian River Valley Chardonnay
$50
This wine from one of Russian River Valley’s star sites is rich and decadently creamy in vanilla and apple-crisp character, balanced by refreshing acidity and bright citrus and apple fruit. Oak plays a supporting role, adding depth and mouthfeel. (VB)

Dutton-Goldfield Winery
2012 Dutton Ranch Rued Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Chardonnay
$55
Warren Dutton planted the Rued Vineyard in 1969, to a clone that has tiny berries and intense flavors. His son, Steve, and winemaker Dan Goldfield, produce this sumptuous, layered wine from this vineyard. It has caramel aromas, mouth-filling citrus, poached pear, stone fruit and guava flavors, and a bracing mineral finish. (LM)

Flowers Vineyard & Winery
2012 Camp Meeting Ridge Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
$70
It’s delicate and ethereal, with great verve. Meyer lemon, lemon curd, oyster shell and pleasant salinity express the growing conditions in a mouthwatering way. Vines planted just 2 miles from the Pacific impart a distinct sea-air salinity. (LM)

Keller Estate
2012 La Cruz Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
$33
This vineyard-designated, estate-grown wine from the Petaluma Gap opens with a bouquet of floral jasmine. It’s very fresh and inviting. The palate offers elegant minerality and succulence, with a hint of dried herbs. It’s medium-bodied and mouth-filling, but never overbearing. (VB)

Long board Vineyards
2013 Rochioli Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay
$54
From a stellar vineyard comes this well integrated wine that’s medium-bodied and beautifully textured, with minerality, rich Gravenstein apple and honey flavors, bright acidity and complexity that suggests long-term cellar aging. (VB)

MacRostie Winery & Vineyards
2013 Sangiacomo Vineyard Carneros Chardonnay
$44
Winemaker Steve MacRostie has worked with Sangiacomo grapes since 1987 and can be counted on to produce elegant, nuanced Chardonnays from there. The lush, juicy 2013 has notes of Meyer lemon, green apple, baked bread and oak spice, with a slightly creamy texture and bright acidity. (LM)

McIlroy Cellars
2013 Russian River Valley Chardonnay
$20
Chardonnay prices have soared recently, so bravo to McIlroy for not following suit with this bottling. Produced in a bold, oaky style, its toast and caramel character complements the vibrant apple, pear and citrus fruit. (LM)

Patz & Hall
2013 Dutton Ranch Russian River Valley Chardonnay
$44
Floral, round and decadent, this wine is made from some of the appellation’s oldest plantings of Chardonnay, and the vine age lends a subtle complexity and depth. Fresh peach and melon flavors are supported by vanilla and anise notes. (VB)

Paul Hobbs
2013 Richard Dinner Vineyard Sonoma
Mountain Chardonnay
$70
Super-rich, dense and intense, with honey, crème brûlée and vanillin character framing the ripe yellow stone fruit and citrus flavors. Mouthwatering acidity keeps this substantial, full-flavored wine fresh and refreshing. (LM)

Pfendler Vineyards
2013 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
$38
From the high reaches of the Petaluma Gap comes this succulent white made by Greg Bjornstad. It’s rich without being heavy: a balanced and refined expression of Chardonnay with svelte layers of peach tart and lemon custard, and a zesty Meyer lemon finish. (VB)
Ramey Wine Cellars
2012 Ritchie Vineyard Russian River Valley Chardonnay
$65
For all its power and richness, it has fabulous freshness and balance. Meyer lemon, mango, papaya and citrus flavors meld beautifully with
toasty oak and a creaminess from aging on the spent yeast cells. From Kent Ritchie’s 40-year old Chardonnay block. (LM)

Red Car Wine Co.
2012 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast
$35
This minimally oaked wine combines exotic floral aromas and a creamy mouthfeel with dry, fresh-squeezed grapefruit and tangerine flavors. Perfectly delicious as an aperitif, it also has structure for service at the table. (VB)

Roche Estate Winery
2013 French Oak Reserve Carneros Chardonnay
$38
Beat every other wine to win Best of the Best at the 2015 North Coast Wine Challenge. It’s rich, creamy and beautifully balanced, with oak in the background and juicy apple, pear and tropical fruit flavors. Complete and complex. (LM)

Sonoma Coast Vineyards
2012 Gold Ridge Hills Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
$30
Earned its 97-point score at the North Coast Wine Challenge for its intense citrus, peach and melon fruit, brisk acidity and underlying oak character that supports, yet does not overwhelm, the brilliant fruit. (LM)

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