California Chardonnay: Power & Finesse

Terroir-driven wines lead the charge to more refined and structured styles across the state

California Chardonnay: Power & Finesse
Ramey, Three Sticks, Kistler, Saxon Brown, Aubert and Beringer are among the producers with top-scoring California Chardonnay bottlings from the 2017, 2018 and 2019 vintages. (Alanna Hale)
From the Jul 31, 2021, issue

California Chardonnay is decisively moving away from the days when big, buttery and oaky versions dominated the upper echelon of the market. The new generation of wines coming on the scene, defined by gentler fermentations and a lighter use of oak, is fostering an explosion of quality across the Golden State. Senior editor Kim Marcus reviewed recently released bottlings in the July 31, 2021, issue of Wine Spectator, finding high quality across the board in both the successful 2018 and 2019 vintages. Get his scores and tasting notes for top wines, smart buys and value picks.

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