Edna Valley Vineyard was founded in 1980. It's a partnership between Chalone Wine Group (now part of Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines) and The Niven Family who planted the Paragon Estate Vineyard in the early 1970's. They're a Central Coast pioneer, having established themselves as the first producer in the area of estate-grown Chardonnay. Edna Valley Vineyard Winemaker Harry Hansen brought his own impressive resume with him. He had previously worked at Gloria Ferrer in Sonoma as associate winemaker. The 2006 Edna Valley Vineyard Chardonnay spent 8 months in oak, 33% of it new. 320,000 cases of this wine were produced and it retails for approximately $15. A quick look at wine-searcher shows that it can be found pretty widely for right around $12.
Chardonnay is one of the wines I'm personally the most finnicky about. I tend to love them when they're made in a Chablis style with moderate use of oak. However when they're made in what has become known as the California style and over-oaked I generally don't. The Edna Valley Vineyard 2006 Chardonnay makes judicious use of oak. There's enough oak to add complexity, but not so much to detract from the fruit.
The nose of the Edna Valley Vineyard Chardonnay has honeysuckle, pineapple and citrus elements. The first sip reveals vanilla, peach and terrific spiciness that leads to a rich mouthfilling mid-palate. The finish reveals some minerality and additional citrus notes. The wine is well balanced with good acidity. It drinks nicely on it's own but will work well with a pretty wide array of foods. Roast chicken, soft cheeses and entree salads are just a handful of options that will match up nicely with this Chardonnay.
Considering how much of this wine was produced it's impressive how much true varietal character it displays. When you take into account it's wide availability, at a relatively low price, the Edna Valley Vineyard Chardonnay is a bargain.
Coming Tomorrow: Edna Valley Vineyard Pinot Noir
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