2022 RouteStock Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast 750 ml


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It’s really not hard to find an inexpensive California Chardonnay out there, but if it’s quality and distinction you’re hoping for at that under-$25 price point, your options become markedly fewer.  We’ve been fans of RouteStock’s wines for quite a few years now and their Pinot Noir, in particular, has earned a very solid, loyal following here at PRIMA.  The property is owned by Wilson-Daniels, a wine company that should know something about making good wine, seeing as they not only distribute the impressive wines of the Russian River’s Arista Winery, they are the longtime importer partner of Domaine dela Romanee-Conti.  This high-quality negociant operation has access to some very, very good vineyards around California, many with names that sell on other wines for multiples of $20 bucks, so it wasn’t really a surprise that their Chardonnay is damned good too!  Sourced from two vineyards in Los Carneros, one on the Sonoma County side and one on the Napa side, this is made like many of the higher priced Chards as it’s fermented on its native yeasts and goes through a naturally occurring malo-lactic in stainless steel followed by seven months aging in good used wood. We were impressed with the zingy brightness of this well-made Chardonnay.  While it certainly has some ripe fruit that leans towards the tropical as it warms, it’s nicely balanced by broad hints of Meyer lemon, some fresh herb and a snappy ginger-lemon finish.  While there is plenty of weight here for those Chardonnay lovers who like a bit of that, there’s no pushy alcohol, no noticeable wood and no butter either.  It’s a wine that seems lighter on its feet than most and more nuanced as well.  While it would serve as a great aperitif, I think a chicken breast sauteed in garlic, butter and tarragon would be a lovely match.  Or maybe grilled salmon?  Either way, you’ll find a lot to like in this tasty, well-priced California Chardonnay!