Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards, located in California’s Sonoma County, was one of the first wineries to set down a track record for producing high-quality, large-production Chardonnays from the Golden State. That was back in the late 1970s, and it soon established a near cultlike following for wine like its Les Pierres single-vineyard bottling. Today, the wines of Sonoma-Cutrer are still a big draw on restaurant wine lists around the country.
Sonoma-Cutrer made its mark with its laser-eyed attention to preserving fruit quality from vineyard to bottle. Recently, I picked up a bottle of Sonoma-Cutrer’s Sonoma Coast bottling from the 2006 vintage. This is the second vintage for this wine, which is a blend of fruit from three of the winery’s vineyards, including Les Pierres. It was barrel-fermented for seven months and underwent malolactic fermentation to soften the natural acidities. Showing an aroma of tropical fruit, including pineapple, this white was rich and thick, with flavors of ripe apples, spice and nectarine. I rated it 88 points, non-blind, and it cost $19 a bottle.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2006 (83, $25).
• Plus, get our quick list of Top Values among California Chardonnays, for $25 or less.