Click on each wine's name to see its original tasting note.
Winemaker Steve Rasmussen employs traditional Burgundian winemaking techniques for this wine. Grapes are whole-cluster pressed and fermented in medium to heavily toasted French oak barrels, using indigenous yeasts. The fruit comes predominantly from 19-year-old vines in Talley's Rincon Vineyard, with a small portion of 13-year-old vines from Rosemary's Vineyard. 9,630 cases made.
Villa Mt. Eden's veteran winemaker Mike McGrath makes this terrific value (with a price tag that hasn't changed in five vintages) from the winery's vineyard holdings in Napa Valley. Parent company Stimson Lane has 235 acres of vines in Napa Valley's Yountville district, most of it planted to Cabernet Sauvignon. 4,500 cases made.
Argyle's winery lies in the heart of Willamette Valley. Australian Brian Croser and Rollin Soles created the brand in 1984 with sparkling wine in mind, yet now specialize in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. 2,902 cases made.
Winemaker Ed Sbragia made his 2000 Limited Release Chardonnay with grapes from Beringer's Gamble Ranch near Yountville. He seeks complexity by matching the different components of each Chardonnay lot to barrels from three different coopers. 3,000 cases made.
This 51-year-old grower owns 25 acres of vineyards, mostly in the Côte de Beaune. He also has a négociant business and produces this village-level Meursault entirely from purchased grapes, aging them in one-third new oak. 500 cases imported.
This wine comes from Alexander Valley in northern Sonoma County. One of the warmer areas of the county, Alexander Valley is known for making wines with soft and supple tannins. Sebastiani created the Appellation Selection series so that winemaker Mark Lyon could spotlight subregions within Sonoma County. 2,500 cases made.
This is the best vintage of Justification yet. Bordeaux-trained winemaker Jeff Branco chose to have the grapes for this St.-Emilion-inspired blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot picked about two weeks later than in most years, which allowed the grapes to get extra ripe and flavorful. 2,000 cases made.
The Ferreira family has owned this Douro Valley estate since 1818. Vallado is made from a blend of Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Amarela and Touriga Francesca. Former Quinto do Noval owner Christiano Van Zeller helps produce the wine. 5,000 cases made.
Winemaker Bill Sorenson has been with Burgess since the Burgess family purchased the old Souverain winery in 1972. The estate vineyards, just below the Howell Mountain appellation, produce small, intensely flavored grapes. 6,200 cases made.
This estate near Pontassieve, founded by the Giuntini family in 1827 and managed today by Federico Giuntini, controls 135 acres of vineyards. The Bucerchiale parcel comprises 31 acres and is the source of this 100 percent Sangiovese red. Enologist Franco Bernabei oversees the winemaking. 3,250 cases made.
Napa-based Caymus owner and winemaker Chuck Wagner sought a mix of soils and microclimates beneficial to Chardonnay. After purchasing 43 acres of land in Monterey County in 1992, he discontinued production of Chardonnay at Caymus. Since its inception, Mer Soleil has showcased the ripe, opulent character of Central Coast Chardonnay. 13,400 cases made.
Owner Jean Engelbrecht's flagship wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot from his estate's 111 acres of vineyards. This distinctive wine represents the new face of the region, as South Africa moves away from the Pinotage grape and toward blends made from Bordeaux varieties and other better-known grapes. 4,600 cases made.
In 1987, Franciscan introduced Cuvée Sauvage, its first unfiltered, wild yeast-fermented Chardonnay. Winemaker Larry Levin chooses the best lots of Chardonnay, then employs indigenous yeasts, 100 percent malolactic fermentation and French oak. 3,600 cases made.
Castello della Sala expresses the international vision of estate proprietor Piero Antinori. Both the wine and the winemaker, Renzo Cotarella, debuted with the 1985 vintage. Cotarella ferments and ages Chardonnay (80 percent) and the Italian variety Grechetto (20 percent) in new French oak barrels, then blends them. 13,000 cases made.
Winemaker Ed Killian handles this Beringer-Blass property, which owns 300 acres of vineyards. The Chardonnay '00 is made from a blend of fruit sourced from Alexander Valley, Carneros and Russian River Valley. 60,000 cases made.
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