2013 J. Wilkes Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
Appearance: Medium straw with gilded highlights, brilliant clarity.
Aromatics: A wonderful marriage of bright apple flesh and skin, pear, orange blossom, echoes of topicality and a chalk-like mineral note, enough fine French oak/browned butter to show proper elevage, but the oak treatment elevates and spices the delicacy and balance of the wine's aromatics.
Palate: Seamless transition in the palate from broad and savory attack (entry), a bright and oak-influenced mid-palate, and a lingering finish that shows just enough malolatcic character to give a hint of butter and roundness to tame the just-less-than-stern acid structure from the Santa Maria Valley's foggy mornings and cold nights. More oak/toast in the attack and then becomes much more structured and less oaky in the mid-palate and finish.
Food Pairing: Round and soft enough to sip, bright and lively enough to cleanse the palate between bites of Maine lobster with drawn butter, fried clams, roast or fried chicken, pancetta-wrapped halibut in beurre blanc or BBQ brisket.
Aging: The wine is perfectly balanced for cocktail hour or delicious plates tonight, but will continue gaining richness, nutiness, a honeyed edge and depth of the next 3-5 years. Full maturity expected 7-10 years with hazelnut and sherry notes.
Cases Produced: 2000