After looking for a very special site planted with the Wente clone, I was lucky to find a most enchanting part of the historic Sierra Madre Vineyard established over 30 years ago. It was the late Robert Mondavi who reshaped the fate of this vineyard in the early 1990’s. This small parcel has gentle southern exposure, producing small yields of medium-bodied Chardonnay with nuances of citrus and minerality.
From a great site outside of Santa Maria, the 2020 Chardonnay Le Souvenir Sierra Madre Vineyard is another ripe, powerful Chardonnay revealing musky notes of melon, honeyed lemon, toasted bread, and hints of almond paste and chalky minerality. Full-bodied, concentrated, and layered on the palate, it stays remarkably light on its feet, has good acidity, and a great finish that picks up some classic Santa Maria salinity and minerality. It's not for those looking for Chablis, but it’s beautifully done and a gorgeous California Chardonnay to drink over the coming 4-6 years.
The 2020 Chardonnay le Souvenir Sierra Madre Vineyard has a pleasantly old-school style, with ripe aromas of apricot, apple pie, nutmeg and jasmine. The full-bodied palate is ripe, concentrated and satiny with seamless acidity and creamy banana touches on the long finish. It comes from 27-year-old Wente clone vines and matured for 16 months in 45% new French oak. 250 cases were made. (EB)VN93
The 2020 Chardonnay Sierra Madre Vineyard Le Souvenir is a classic Santa Maria Chardonnay that balances richness and energy. Lemon confit, white pepper, tangerine oil, dried flowers and light tropical accents abound. The 2020 feels a bit heavy, but this extroverted Chardonnay has a ton to offer. (AG)