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Senior editor and tasting director Bruce Sanderson joined Wine Spectator in 1993. His tasting beats are Burgundy in France and Piedmont and Tuscany in Italy.
Bruce Sanderson

A Well-Known California Chardonnay to Enjoy Now

Talbott Chardonnay Monterey County Sleepy Hollow Vineyard 2005

Bruce Sanderson
Posted: April 24, 2009

Because I cover Burgundy, I'm always curious when I taste Chardonnays from other regions. How do they compare to those that I am most familiar with? It's not a matter of quality, but how they differ and why.

These thoughts were foremost in my mind when I uncorked a bottle of Talbott Chardonnay Sleepy Hollow Vineyard 2005. What struck me immediately were the ripe, tropical fruit aromas of pineapple and toasted oak. Some white Burgundies possess these aromas, particularly from such recent vintages as 2006 and 2003. However, I find them more typical of Chardonnay from California, where the climate is warmer.

In the mouth, it was rich and creamy. Apricot, pineapple, vanilla and butterscotch flavors matched a soft structure, and light citrus accents followed, with just a hint of tannins on the finish. I gave it 89 points, non-blind. The lower acidity is another characteristic of Chardonnays from California. In general, white Burgundies tend to be firmer in structure and slightly lower in alcohol.

The Sleepy Hollow '05 is ready to drink now. It was tasty on its own, but also went well with leftover pork butt that had been done in the rotisserie.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the official blind-tasting review of Talbott Chardonnay Monterey County Sleepy Hollow Vineyard 2005 (88, $45)

• Plus, get scores and notes for more recently rated California Chardonnays

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