Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the two varieties I personally associate with the Santa Cruz Mountains more than any other. A host of other varietals flourish there, but the two stars of Burgundy seem to benefit the most from the unique terroir up there. Today I’ll look at a current release Chardonnay from Cinnabar Winery. The Cinnabar Winery 2007 Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay was produced using fruit sourced at two vineyard sites. The two sites sit 1,400 and 2,000 feet above sea level respectively. These vineyards were selected because they’re distinct from each other in a variety of ways. This offering is 100% Chardonnay. The fruit was all fermented in barrel. 80% of it underwent malolactic fermentation. Barrel aging occurred in French oak; 20% of the barrels were new. 300 cases of this wine were produced in the 2007 vintage. It has a suggested retail price of $29
The golden yellow hue of this Chardonnay is immediately striking and impossible to miss. An intoxicating mix of tropical and orchard fruit aromas fill the nose of this Chardonnay. Lots of apple, pear and a bit of papaya show on the palate along with baker’s spices. Apple pie crust and hints of crème brulee lead the finish which has good length and persistence. Spice notes in droves and gentle wisps of mineral, are the lasting impression from this wine which linger after the final sip has disappeared from your lips.
This is a fine example of Chardonnay. It has a purity of fruit that exemplifies the lovely wines emerging from many producers in Santa Cruz. I should also note that the use of oak on this selection was definitely judicious. It makes its presence known, but only enough to enhance all the glorious fruit. If you’re a fan of balanced California Chardonnay that showcases the fruit above all else, this wine should be on your short list.