From a 4 acre, south-facing plot and vines planted 15 years ago, the 2011 Chardonnay Le Souvenir Sierra Madre Vineyard (aged in 65-70% new French oak) delivers slightly more richness and texture, with gorgeously pure aromas and flavors of baked apple tart, toasted hazelnut, brioche and crisp minerality. Thrilling on the palate, with a medium to full-bodied profile, awesome detail and delineation, and a seamless finish, it should be given another year or so and will knock your socks off through 2021. Drink 2015-2021. Paul Lato continues to knock it out of the park and I can’t say enough about the quality coming from this estate. Across the board, the wines show classic, varietally correct profiles that always show finesse and elegance, yet back it up with layers of fruit and texture. (JD)
Lato's 2011 Chardonnay Le Souvenir Sierra Madre Vineyard is quite a bit richer than the Hilliard-Bruce, but that is quite welcome in this cool year. Here, the fruit takes on hues of tangerine, almonds, lemon, flowers, mint and light honey. Rich, layered and utterly impeccable, the 2010 is a stand-out in this tricky year. The 70% new oak is perfectly suited to this fruit from old Wente clones. (AG)
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2013 Solomon Hills "Solomon Hills Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay (Previously $40)