Retailer Wine Selections

For this issue, we asked members of the Beverage Dynamics National Retailer Wine Panel to recommend some of their favorite chardonnays. As always, these selections include brief tasting notes, a rating and the wine’€™s retail price (which varies from store to store and market to market). If you’€™re a retail beverage professional who would like to learn about participating in our panel, call Richard Brandes at 212-353-3832, or email him at rbrandes@m2media360.com .

FIVE STARS

(96) Peter Michael Belle Cote Chardonnay 2010 (California). Sweet lemon and floral notes; intense flavors with hints of licorice and tropical flavors; luxurious and graceful in the mouth with a long finish. ($90)

(95) Knights Bridge Vineyards Knights Valley West Block Chardonnay 2010 (California). Golden yellow, with heavy legs; toasted bread with hints of sweet stone fruits, white peaches and citrus; pear cooked with vanilla hints; generous but not too buttery and big; balanced acidity and fine long finish that lingers. ($66)

(94) Domaine Jolly Chablis 2010 (France). Classic Chablis with aromas and flavors of fresh green apple and not-quite-ripe pear combined with a rich yet not buttery mouthfeel; on the finish, that unique and wonderful minerality found only in Chablis lingers; great with lobster. ($25)

(94) Morgan Metallico Un-oaked Chardonnay 2011 (California). A lovely bouquet of under-ripe tropical fruit and wildflower leads to a palate of pear, peach, and citrus with a hint of minerality reminiscent of a good Chablis; dry, crisp and racy on the finish with great length. ($24)

(93) Stuhlmuller Vineyards Alexander Valley Estate Chardonnay 2010 (California). Lovely citrus and lemon custard aromas; flavors of pineapple, pear, orange and apple are revealed on the palate; long subtle finish from the French oak and sur lie aging process. ($30)

(93) Joseph Drouhin Drouhin-Vaudon Chablis Premier Cru 2010 (France). Bright yellow-gold in the glass, there is plenty of white peach, with notes of grapefruit and orange blossom on the nose; on the palate the refinement and elegance reveal layers of flavors and an evolving texture; stunning now, it will continue to evolve for the next few years. ($39)

(93) Domaine Saumaize Michelin Pouilly-Fuissé 2010 (France). Beautiful aromatic nose full of flowers and stone fruits; the palate is rich and creamy without being overpowered by oak; energetic acidity from start to finish making it a wonderful food wine. ($30)

(93) Newton Red Label Chardonnay 2009 (California). Rich mouthfeel gives way to peaches, lemon curd, and pineapple as the toasted oak and cream notes delight the senses. ($22)

(93) Dutton Estate Russian River Chardonnay 2010 (California). Tropical nose and flavors lead to an elegant, smooth and lingering finish. ($30)

(93) J. Lohr Arroyo Vista Monterey Chardonnay 2011 (California). Hand-harvested at night, the rich fruit provides an elegant almost Burgundian structure; ripe pear and apple, roasted nuts and butterscotch, and hints of vanilla; California’€™s best interpretation of the classic French model. ($28)

(93) Girard Russian River Sonoma Chardonnay 2010 (California). Sourcing primarily from the famed Dutton Ranch, this wine offers up hints of orange blossoms, honey and lemon curd on the nose, with bright acid and oak and vanilla on its rich, long finish. ($33)

(93) Fritz Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2010 (California). Nice bright acidity, yet creamy on the palate; ripe flavors of tropical fruits; pineapples, mangoes and melons; layers of baked pastries and toasted nuts make this truly interesting. ($30)

(93) VGS/Chat.Potelle Napa Chardonnay 2010 (California). Beautiful collaboration of classical French techniques blended with rich hillside mountain fruit; natural yeasts, unfiltered, minimal oak aging create a rich opulent wine; initial hints of green apple and lemon lead to deeper flavors of melons, pineapples and white pears. ($58)

(93) Silver Stag Napa Chardonnay 2010 (California). Beautiful jasmine aromas lead into hints of apple, melon, lemon, and caramel; rich and full-bodied; the inaugural chardonnay release from the Parsley Family Winery. ($57)

(92) Peter Paul Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2010 (California). Bright, fresh and clean, with half of the wine made in stainless steel and the rest neutral oak; not the big over-the-top butter bomb, but a more driven wine; clean and unencumbered. ($28)

(92) Morgan Metallico Monterey Chardonnay 2011 (California). Pure chardonnay; no oak, no malolactic; fresh, vibrant, with beautiful bright color, it offers lush nectarine and white pear fruit; clean and crisp with a surprising long finish. ($32)

(92) Molnar Family Chardonnay 2010 (California). Wonderful aromas of pear, citrus and tangerine with a vanilla scent; soft on the palate with lively tones of apples and citrus, it finishes with a warm toasty finish; the Hungarian oak gives this wine a unique flavor. ($27)

(92) ZD California Chardonnay 2010 (California). Tropical aroma; tropical fruit; vanilla and butterscotch taste; long finish. ($39)

(92) Christian Moreau 2011 Chablis 2011 (France). A quintessential Chablis with a pale golden color that sparkles in the glass; notes of apple and stone fruit reverberate across the nose and palate; the bright acidity adds a nervous energy to the finish; with that same acidity promising a long life in the bottle. ($24)

(92) Sbragia Home Ranch Dry Creek Valley Chardonnay 2009 (California). Sbragia is known for its excellent Chardonnays, and this lovely wine shows Dry Creek Valley as an outstanding producer of a full-throttle chard that maintains freshness without overbearing lumber; pair it with salmon and enjoy. ($45)

(92) Fox Run Vineyard Chardonnay 2011 (California). Earthy nose upon opening, buttery and fruity balance; strong lemon appeal; pleasant citrus aftertone; an unoaked option for nontraditional Chardonnay drinkers. ($14)

(92) The Calling Russian River Valley Dutton Ranch Chardonnay 2010 (California). A subtle but complex in the nose, with lovely and bright fruit aromas and supple oak shadings; citrus, pear, apple and melon all appear; equally complex on the palate, lush and beautifully balanced, with a delicious array of fruit flavors deftly tinted by vanillin, oak and cream. ($30)

(92) En Truffiere Meursault 2009 (France). Classy Burgundy that maintains impeccable balance throughout; floral and citrus notes mingle in the bouquet and on the palate, and a firm mineral structure amplifies everything beautifully; fresh, and long on the finish. ($40)

(92) Woodward Canyon Chardonnay 2011 (Washington State). The wine is a brilliant yellow gold; the nose is an elegant combination of apple and pear, with hints of spice, vanilla, and toasted nuts; the palate is just as elegant, with a long luxurious finish. ($36)

(92) Sonoma Cutrer Les Pierres Chardonnay 2010 (California). Rich yet lively; hard to believe it’€™s barrel fermented given its fresh character; lush tropical fruit with pineapple-lifesaver finish. ($45)

(92) Ferrari Carano Sonoma Chardonnay 2011 (California). There are aromas of butter, caramel and a very slight smokiness which add complexity to this incredibly smooth and satisfying chardonnay; the beautiful layers of fruit and texture are satisfying and controlled. ($21)

(92) Hanna Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2011 (California). Pale straw yellow, in the glass; the nose and palate both showcase the abundance of peach, pear, with citrus, and herbal notes; good acidity balances the weight and texture of the palate, with the combination highlighting the long and balanced finish. ($20)

(92) Altosur Tupungato Mendoza Chardonnay 2010 (Argentina). Estate grown, produced, and bottled by Finca Sophenia as a second label; hand-harvested and sorted, using stainless steel fermentation with only a kiss of oak aging (15%).Clean, crisp with an easy drinking style; hints of pineapple, white peaches and apricots, with just a touch of vanilla on the end. ($19)

(92) Castello Banfi Fontanelle Chardonnay 2011 (Italy). A pale straw yellow in the glass, this Italian entry into the crowded Chardonnay field rises above much of the competition; elegant and complex notes of stone and tropical fruit on the nose and palate are supplemented by hints of spice and vanilla; good value. ($19)

(92) Gary Farrell Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2010 (California). Showcasing its pedigree, the wine is a bight yellow-gold with good viscosity; the nose is full of tree fruit and stone fruit, with notes of high-toned spices; the palate has weight, with the same spice notes; the combination of solid mouthfeel and balancing acidity contribute to the wine’€™s complexity and finish. ($30)

(92) Antica Chardonnay 2011 (California). Rich and full-bodied Napa Valley Chardonnay; through the bold flavors and full body, this beauty still maintains elegance and finesse; lemon peel, pear and creamy vanilla are displayed in this rich and creamy traditional Napa Valley Chardonnay. ($36)

(92) Familia Zuccardi Q Mendoza Chardonnay 2011 (Argentina). Bright lemon with note of green at the edge, the nose is dominated by stone fruit, with hints of spice provided by the barrel fermentation and a brief time aged in oak; the palate is solid, with an attractive nervous energy; plenty of weight, depth, with a fine finish. ($20)

(92) Mer Soleil Silver Chardonnay 2011 (California). From Caymus Vineyards; a delightful, unoaked Chardonnay in a distinctive crock bottle; ribght and refreshing, balanced acidity, hints of ripe apple; good by itself or with simple shellfish and chicken dishes. ($25)

(92) Daniel Dampt Chablis 2011 (France). Awesome bargain for an exceptional French Chablis; balanced fruit and acidity; inviting aromas of subtle citrus; more elegant in style with much lower acidity than others in its class; apleasure with a plate of oysters. ($24)

(92) Vega Sindoa Chardonnay 2010 (Spain). Apple, pineapple, citrusy lime and a pronounced minerality; Burgundy en Espana; sur lie aging gives this wine a finish tinged with vanilla and spice cake. ($15)

(92) Tolosa No Oak Chardonnay 2011 (California). Beautiful aromas of flowers and lemon; the flavors are rich and slightly sweet; the wine finishes crisp and clean with a lingering elegance. ($20)

FOUR STARS

(91) Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay 2010 (California). Rich and creamy, thus smooth in the mouth; tropical fruit flavors with brisk acidity; lingering finish. ($23)

(91) Dr. Konstantin Frank Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2010 (New York). From a pioneer of Chardonnay production in the Finger Lakes region, an elegant wne with a bright straw yellow color; the cool weather environment provides quite a bit of tree and stone fruit notes, with hints of spice provided by time in barrel; the finish is long, balanced and elegant. ($15)

(91) Hartford Court Russian River Chardonnay 2010 (California). Baked apples, ripe peach, nectarines and a hint of caramel are all flavors that are present in this Russian River Chardonnay; the long finish has a lovely balance of fruit, light oak and acid; enjoy now through 2014. ($33)

(91) Anaba Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2010 (California). A crisp wine with a nice mineral characteristic, balanced out by fresh stone fruits; peach and nectarine; flavors of lemon curd and vanillin layered into this medium-bodied wine. ($30)

(91) Apex Chardonnay 2011 (Washington State). Light straw color in the glass with aromas of peach and orange flower; sweet doughy flavors of shortbread and sugar cookies balanced out by nice clean acidity. ($17)

(91) Frie Brothers Russian River Valley Reserve Chardonnay 2011 (California). Golden yellow in the glass, the nose is dominated by lovely scents of ripe apple, with notes of hazelnut and spice; the palate is rich and full, echoing the nose, as well as emphasizing the bright fruit and toast; an excellent bargain. ($15)

(91) J. Lohr Riverstone Monterey Chardonnay 2011 (California). Very balanced oak; natural acidity; very detailed winemaking, including French oak and barrel stirring; blends well with the cool-climate fruit from the Monterey peninsula; over-delivers for the price. ($17)

(91) Tamarack Cellars Columbia Valley Chardonnay 2011 (Washington State). From the producers of Washington’€™s famed Firehouse Red comes their limited-production Chardonnay; a wine of bright acidity; hints of soft peach and mango lead to lime and banana, and a rich butterscotch finish. ($30)

(91) Bonterra Chardonnay 2011 (California). Produced from organically grown grapes from the cooler regions of Mendocino, the wine has a lovely yellow gold appearance; scents of tropical and stone fruit, with spice, vanilla and touches of citrus; the palate follows through, delivering what the nose promises; the finish is quite long and balanced. ($14)

(91) Les 4 Terroirs Limoux Terroir des Cimes Chardonnay 2010 (France). An interesting bouquet with lots of fresh and juicy exotic fruit aromas; complex on the palate, where mild acidity lets the fruit flavors rule; melon, citrus and tropical notes all chime in and it has quite the long finish. ($18)

(91) Godspeed Mt. Veeder Chardonnay 2009 (California). This might have you thinking more Montrachet than California with its supple style and mineral edge, but the aromas and flavors are surprisingly tropical (and delicious), with pineapple, lemon, lime, tangerine and quince; barrel fermentation and aging add a wonderfully supple texture. ($25)

(91) Bramare Mendoza Perdriel Marchiori Vineyard Chardonnay 2010 (Argentina). The exotic bouquet is forward and ripe, with oak-laden scents of ripe melon, guava, tangelo and persimmon; medium-full, round and lush, it focuses on melon and citrus on the palate, though the oak-tinted exotic notes remain in the wings; long finish. ($40)

(91) Warwick The First Lady Unoaked Stellenbosch Chardonnay 2012 (South Africa). Brilliant straw gold, with notes of green in the glass; there is plenty of stone and tropical fruit, with subtle floral notes; the texture is smooth, with good weight on the palate; the finish is quite long, and the acidity helps keep it refreshing. ($14)

(91) Line 39 Chardonnay 2011 (California). Winemaker Bob Broman, formerly of St. Supery, has created a lovely series of varietals using grapes from several premier California AVAs; the Chardonnay is beautifully made with rich fruit aromas and flavors balanced with a hint of toasty oak and crisp acidity on the finish; delicious, easy to enjoy, and an excellent value. ($12)

(91) Los Vascos Colchagua Valley Chardonnay 2012 (Chile). A bright, pale gold in the glass, the nose and palate share an abundance of ripe stone and tree fruit; plenty of spice, weight and texture; a lovely and complex bottle of wine, its price belies the level of quality. ($12)

(91) Santa Rita Medalla Real Gran Reserva Chardonnay 2010 (Chile). A pale gold with green hints in the glass, the nose is dominated by stone fruit, with notes of citrus, spice and hazelnut; the palate is weighty, reflecting the nose, and the finish is long, elegant and balanced; an excellent value. ($12)

(90) Morgan Santa Lucia Highland Chardonnay 2009 (California). Tangerine and toasted almonds on the nose; light oak aging leads to touches of lemon and lime, with a touch of toast; perfect sipping on a bright spring day. ($28)

(91) Cousino-Macul Antiguas Reservas Chardonnay 2011 (Chile). Brilliant pale gold, the nose is dominated by tropical, stone and tree fruits; a lovely hint of spice on the nose, which is echoed on the palate; the combination of delicious ripe fruit with a balancing acidity adds to the complexity and balance. ($14)

(90) Zolo Unoaked Chardonnay 2011 (Argentina). Delectable, zesty sweet/tart fruit flavors lead to a crisp, lipsmacking finish; hints of apricot, nectarine, and citrus abound; works well as an aperitif. ($12)

(90) Ghost Pines Chardonnay 2010 (California). A blend of chards from Sonoma, Monterey and Napa, the Ghost Pines Chardonnay offers typical California flavors and aromas of apples and pears with a creamy, lemony finish. ($17)

(90) Hindsight Napa Chardonnay 2010 (California). Aromas of apple, citrus and floral notes brand this as a classic Carneros Chardonnay; the palate is full and rich with a crisp acidity on the finish. ($17)

(90) Lioco Carneros Chardonnay 2010 (California). This wine was pressed and fermented in stainless steel tanks with no oak; the malolactic fermentation occurred naturally resulting in aromas of lemon and lime with flavors of green pear and lemon. ($17)

(90) Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne ‘€œLes Sétilles’€ 2010 (France). Crisp minerality, fresh green apple and pear are layered through the glass; grapes are sourced from vineyards in Meursault and Puligny Montrachet making this wine a terrific value. ($18)

(90) Morro Bay Split Oak Chardonnay 2010 (California). Nice tropical fruit flavors of pineapple, banana and melon are backed by a nice balance of fruit and acidity to give way to a really nice clean finish; great value. ($11)

(90) 446 Monterey Chardonnay 2011 (California). Creamy, with layers of concentrated ripe apple, pear and apricot flavors that blend well together finishing with a touch of oak, vanilla and spice. ($15)

(90) Franciscan Napa Valley Chardonnay 2011 (California). This Chardonnay starts off with very controlled fruit, then opens up with an apple and butter mid palate followed by a hint of flintiness; a beautiful wine for appetizers or dinner. ($17)

(90) Sanford Chardonnay 2009 (California). Full-bodied and elegant with great structure; barrel fermented with nice aromas of fruit and toasted hazelnut. ($24)

(90) Josh Cellars North Coast Chardonnay 2010 (California). Second label to the Joseph Carr winery; great tropical fruit with well-balanced acidity; partial barrel fermentation gives the wine a hint if vanilla in a beautifully textured finish; good on its own or paired with your favorite dish. ($17)

(90) Dominican Oaks Unoaked Chardonnay 2012 (California). Beautiful fresh fruits of ripe apples, crisp pears and juicy apricots; the stainless steel fermenting brings out the delightful characteristics of this wine; the absence of oak treatment highlights pleasant fruit flavors and aromas. ($13)

(90) Avenel Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2011 (California). A bouquet of tropical and citrus fruit aromas surrounded by good acidity; ripe lemon, orange and apple flavors intermingled with toasty vanilla and creamy marshmallow notes. ($20)

(90) Jip Jip Chardonnay 2012 (Australia). A crowd pleasing Chardonnay; crisp and clean on the palate with good fruit flavors of apples, peach and pear; medium-bodied and good balance. ($17)

(89) Zellerbach Chardonnay 2010 (California). The fruit comes primarily from the Mendocino region; 100% stainless steel fermentation produces a lighter style of Chardonnay for the novice drinker, with wonderful hints of apples and pears. ($18)

(89) Mobius Sonoma Chardonnay 2010 (California). Selective sourcing from prime sites in Sonoma yields a medium-bodied wine with hints of apple, pear and toasted almonds. ($25)

(89) St. Francis Sonoma County Chardonnay 2010 (California). Medium-bodied, slightly oaked has noted of lemon, butterscotch and green apple; long finish with crisp acidity. ($16)

(89) Terlato Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2010 (California). Noticeably light gold in color, with apricot and peach flavors; long, clean and firm finish. ($23)

(89) Calcareous Twisted Sisters Paso Robles Chardonnay 2011 (California). Clear, pale straw color; citrus notes on the nose, dry and medium pineapple, light caramel fruitiness in the mouth; balanced acidity and fine clean tangy finish. ($18)

(89) Cameron Hughes Lot 216 Chardonnay 2009 (California). A wonderful balance of creamy and acidic textures reinforced with flavors of butter, granny smith apples and a hint of nutmeg; surprising value. ($14)

(89) Michel Picard Bourgogne Chardonnay 2009 (France). A gorgeous bouquet of tropical fruit aromas, with banana, papaya and melon aromas; soft, round and succulent on the palate yet maintains bracing acidity; it keeps those tropical flavors in focus and a hint of butterscotch emerges in the aftertaste. ($18)

(89) Gnarled Vine California Chardonnay 2011 (California). The bouquet is fresh and fruity with a mix of citrus and tropical aromas, zesty melon and a light whiff of butter; medium bodied, it is juicy on the palate too, and maintains admirable complexity and freshness with more tropical and citrus flavors and some light oak in the finish. ($13)

(89) Cooper Station Monterey Chardonnay 2011 (California). Good aromas of tropical fruits like pineapple and banana coupled with ripe apples; medium-bodied on the palate with notes of butterscotch and toasted vanilla. ($11)

(89) Tres Palacios Reserve Chardonnay 2011 (Chile). No oak; clean; smooth drinking with hints of ripe pineapple and banana. ($9)

(89) Gravelly Ford Arroyo Seco Private Reserve Chardonnay 2011 (California). The bouquet is subtle but nicely complex, with mild citrus, lychee and cream notes; juicy and tart fruit on the palate, with crisp acidity keeping it dry; good balance and moderate weight; put together quite nicely. ($15)

(89) Mark West Chardonnay 2010 (California). A lot of pear in the aroma with some Honey Crisp apple; the strong pear notes are evident in the flavor as well along with some vanilla and apple; full mouthfeel and nice long finish. ($10)

(89) 2010 Laurent Miquel L’€™Artisan Chardonnay 2010 (France). Clean and dry with nice complexity for the price. ($14)

(89) A by Acacia California Chardonnay 2010 (California). Toasty nose; balanced with medium weight; stone fruit and medium length on the finish; great value. ($12)

(89) Eden Ridge Mendocino Chardonnay 2011 (California). Aromas of good tropical fruits intermingling with notes of Meyer lemons at the core; tied together with nice creamy butterscotch and vanilla notes; tasty flavors of stone fruits. ($11)

(88) Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Sonoma County Chardonnay 2011 (California). Fruity, mineral aroma; citrus and vanilla with oaky flavor; long finish. ($19)

(88) Black Stallion Chardonnay 2010 (California). Tasty Napa Valley juice with good acidity, medium body and nice apple, pear and vanilla notes. ($16)

(88) Bogle Vineyards Chardonnay 2010 (California). Oaky nose, and releases aromas of green apple and pear; green balanced acidity; long finish. ($11)

(87) Chalone Vineyard Monterrey County Chardonnay 2010 (California). Light body with a very bright tropical notes and a touch of licorice in the nose; peaches and pears round this wine out with a kiss of toasty oak. ($9)

(87) Gen5 Lodi Chardonnay 2011 (California). Clean and pure with notes of kiwi, guava and pineapple and a touch of vanilla; hint of creaminess; wonderful value. ($10)

(87) Alias California Chardonnay 2010 (California). Pretty forward in the nose, with buttered greens and leafy spinach mixing with casaba and pear aromas; a definite butter note on the palate, but juicy melon, pear and apple flavors roll in nicely; medium bodied and mild, the butter reprises in the aftertaste, but stays balanced. ($9)

(86) H3 (Horse Heaven Hills) Chardonnay 2009 (Washington State). Medium-bodied with very nice layers of fruits; aromas of pineapple and pear with a nice vanilla coconut finish. ($16)

(86) Four Vines Naked Unoaked Chardonnay 2011 (California). Citrus nose; citrus and minerals on the palate; medium finish; a good buy for those looking for an unoaked chardonnay. ($11)

(86) One Hope Chardonnay 2010 (California). Clear, light color, full fruity nose with a medium to full body in the mouth; crisp with notes of honeysuckle, white melon and pineapple; soft lingering finish; easy to drink cocktail wine. ($10)

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