2013 California Chardonnay

2013 California Chardonnay delivers not only another strong vintage that is distinctive.  The wines contain a higher level of phenolics which are similar to tannins.  These wines will get better with time rather than fresh out of the bottle.  Aging 3 to five years may be helpful in extracting the most enjoyable drinking experience.

Growing conditions

chardonnay 2013

Napa Valley

“Early, even and excellent” are three words being used to describe this year’s growing season and the Napa Valley wine grapes that have come from it, reflecting the consistent quality for which this world famous wine region is known.

A warm, dry spring brought early bud break, helped with canopy vigor and berry size and created ideal conditions for flowering and fruit set under sunny skies. With the exception of one heat spike in late June/early July, temperatures were consistently in the zone for optimal vine activity, resulting in notably healthy vines as fruit went through veraison and started ripening.

Central Coast

This year’s harvest started about a week earlier than last year’s due to a warmer summer and a drier spring, giving us a nearly perfect growing season. Our Chardonnay fruit is of excellent quality, with particularly good yields

Santa Barbara

The 2013 harvest was fast, furious, bountiful and beautiful! With a record early start in August and a finish by the end of October, everyone here in Santa Barbara County is smiling. From east to west in our transverse valleys, growers are thrilled with the plentiful yields and winemakers are exalting the first indications of the quality of the young wines. Warm and even temperatures throughout the growing season, with little frost pressure in the spring and short-lived heat spikes in the summer months, resulted in early seed ripening, beautiful stem lignification and superb balance of flavor and acidity. Exceptional conditions prevailed throughout our early but long growing season.


In general, it was a very successful, trouble-free vintage. The growing season got off to a fast start in April and never really slowed down until mid-September, which provided some time for the wineries to comfortably pace their intake of fruit. Harvest start in mid-August was early compared to those of recent years, but with a mid-October conclusion, overall duration of eight weeks was about normal. Best of all, the season was warm enough and early enough to bring all grapes to delicious full ripeness without weather mishaps. The 2013 wines from Sonoma are going to be superb!

Vino to consider

Highest rated 92 to 94 points

Arista Chardonnay Russian River Valley rated 94 points @ $49

Ultrarich, deep and layered, with a wealth of fruit and flavor dimensions, extending from the cloak of toasty oak to the core of ripe pear, honeydew, green fig and citrus. Drink now. 360 cases made

Kistler Chardonnay Sonoma Mountain rated 93 points @ $65

Pure and focused, with a vivid core of white peach, nectarine and tangerine flavors. Tangy acidity gives this a chalky, minerally edge and a long, persistent and captivating finish. Drink now through 2022. 4,000 cases made.

Lewis Chardonnay Napa Valley rated 93 @ $ 50

Rich and layered, showing well-focused green apple, pear, green fig and floral citrus notes, this ends with dense butterscotch accents and lingers on the finish, picking up a touch of smoky oak and anise. Drink now through 2021. 2,200 cases made.

Rombauer Chardonnay Carneros rated 93 points @ $36

A creamy-textured, charming style that’s easy to drink yet is deceptively complex and layered, with a mix of vanilla-scented oak and vibrant peach, nectarine, honeydew and apricot flavors. Long on the finish. Drink now. 100,000 cases made.

Far Niente Chardonnay Napa Valley rated 92 @ $65

Firm and intense, well-focused and vibrant, centered on spicy citrus, green apple and pear flavors, with hints of honeysuckle, white peach and flinty stone. Lingers on the finish, with a pithy edge to the lemon and green stone fruit notes. Drink now through 2019. 38,900 cases made.

Chardonnay rated 90 to 91 points

Truchard Chardonnay Napa Valley Carneros rated 91 points @ $30

Nicely complex and layered, with pear, green fig, tropical fruit and zingy citrus notes. This is both full-bodied and elegant, with enticing scents of new oak and citrus blossom. Drink now. 4,955 cases made.

Beringer Chardonnay Napa Valley Private Reserve rated 90 points $46

Complex and layered, exhibiting a mix of ripe peach, pear, honeydew and citrus flavors, shaded by a light toasty oak presence and ending with a slightly raw, pithy finish. Drink now. 22,000 cases made.

Calera Chardonnay Central Coast rated 90 points @ $20

Clean, pure and juicy, offering a refreshing mix of ripe pear, apple and melon flavors, shaded by a chalky minerality and followed by a long lingering finish. Drink now. 13,929 cases made.

Meiomi Chardonnay Santa Barbara-Sonoma-Monterey Counties rated 90 for $23

This showcases rich tropical fruit, with dashes of mango, marmalade and honeyed citrus that coat the palate while remaining elegant and delicate. A noteworthy achievement. Drink now through 2017. 38,441 cases made.

Rodney Strong Chardonnay Sonoma Coast rated 90 points @ $25

Very rich and complex, with concentrated fig, melon, apricot and light lime citrus hints. Ends with a long, graceful aftertaste. Drink now. 4,743 cases made.

Stuhlmuller Chardonnay Alexander Valley rated 90 points @ $25

Delivers a tight beam of cream-laced green apple, melon, citrus and honeydew flavors, supported by firm acidity and ending with a persistent, flavorful finish. Drink now. 9,300 cases made

89 Points to Good Stuff Cheap

Acacia Chardonnay Carneros rated 89 for $23

Delightfully pure, clean and elegant, with juicy, mouthwatering green apple, pear, citrus and green fig flavors. Tightly focused, long and persistent on the finish. Drink now. 74,000 cases made.

Buehler Chardonnay Russian River Valley rated 88 for $16

Fresh grass, honeydew, honeysuckle, pear and citrus notes are elegant and graceful, smooth and long. Drink now. 20,000 cases made.

Edna Valley Chardonnay Central Coast rated 88 for $15

Rich and full-bodied, presenting a range of tropical fruit cocktail, pear and melon flavors End a bit simpler. Drink now. 275,000 cases made.

Four Vines Chardonnay Santa Barbara County Naked Unoaked rated 88 for $12

This offers a mix of citrus-infused green apple, pineapple and mango notes, presented in a fresh, snappy style, with flavors that linger on the finish. Drink now through 2019. 50,000 cases made.

Frei Brothers Chardonnay Russian River Valley Reserve rated 88 for $20

Lots of spice, creamy oak and vanilla notes join vibrant pear, melon, honeysuckle and floral scents, ending smooth and graceful. Drink now. 135,000 cases made.

Robert Mondavi Chardonnay Napa Valley rated 88 for $18

A subtle, complex, delicate style, with a mix of white peach, citrus, green apple and spice flavors. Clean and refined, ending with a touch of pithiness. Drink now. 64,288 cases made.

Smoking Loon Chardonnay California Steelbird Unoaked rated 88 for $9

A zesty grapefruit edge accents the core of this juicy mix of citrus and green fruits. Refreshing and clean, this ends with a dash of pithy citrus peel. Drink now. 47,000 cases made.

Sterling Chardonnay Napa Valley rated 88 for $18

The pithiness of the texture stands out, with citrus peel spice and edginess. The core flavors emphasize ripe pear, melon and fig. Ends clean and snappy. Drink now. 45,000 cases made.

Fetzer Chardonnay California Sundial rated 87 for $10

Fresh and vibrant, with spicy citrus, green apple and spice flavors, showing the presence of cedar and dill on the finish. Drink now. 297,318 cases made

Hess Select Chardonnay Monterey County rated 87 for $13

Well done, and even more appealing for the price, this presents a mix of pithy citrus, green apple, melon and spice flavors, ending a bit clipped. Drink now. 325,000 cases made.
all wine ratings and notes from WineSpectator

By | 2017-03-06T12:04:50-04:00 July 22nd, 2015|wine|0 Comments

Leave A Comment