Chardonnay is planted all over the world. In California most wine making regions grow it. Every grape has the places it really flourishes. When we're talking about California Chardonnay there are a couple that seem obvious. Carneros is the first one that comes to mind for me. Lately though I've been going out of my way to try Chardonnay grown in the Santa Cruz Mountains. A nice handful of Chardonnays I've had from there, have been terrific. Today I'll look at a selection from Martin Ray. The Martin Ray 2007 Reserve Chardonnay is sourced from Bald Mountain Vineyard on the Santa Cruz Mountains. This offering is 100% Chardonnay. Aging was accomplished with 10 months in French Oak barrels. 540 cases of this wine were produced and the suggested retail price is $25.
The nose of this wine is particularly big and impressive. It bursts from the glass and really provides a welcoming introduction. Apricot, light mango, vanilla and toasty oak are the most prominent aromas. What's impressive throughout, but most obvious in the mid-palate is an incredible purity of fruit. Mango and apricot continue along with peach, nectarine and spice notes such as nutmeg and white pepper. The finish is outstanding and lingers, featuring additional spice and a fair sized burst of cream, butter and apple pie crust. This is a very well balanced Chardonnay with excellent acidity. A great match for four cheese Risotto, roasted chicken, or an entree salad.
What I like most about this Chardonnay is the nice complexity and layers of flavor it shows. Oak is relatively prominent, but never distracting. it frames the fruit but doesn't detract from all that delicious mountain grown flavor. This wine has the structure, balance and solid core of fruit which suggests it'll drink well for the next 3-5 years. A lovely expression of Chardonnay and continued evidence of the fine wines coming from the Santa Cruz Mountains.