Cooler Style California Chardonnay

In the United States, the popularity of big, oaky California Chardonnays led, in the late 1990s, to a still-thriving counter movement called ABC—Anything But Chardonnay. Today, scores of California winemakers talk about the importance of expressing elegance and balance in Chardonnay. Yet too few “walk the talk.” They may have moved their vineyards to cooler places, but many winemakers seem to have forgotten to move their mindsets and winemaking practices there, too. The audience for gas-pedal-to-the-floor, big, ripe, and oaky California Chardonnay isn’t going away. But if you’re an ABCer, here are a few really cool chardonnays made in a pure, minimalist, not-overripe style:


  • Melville “Clone 76-Inox”
  • Scribe Estate
  • Carbone
  • Matthiasson “Linda Vista Vineyard”
  • Flowers “Camp Meeting Ridge”
  • Massican “Hyde Vineyard”
  • Hanzell

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