2013 Artesa Estate Reserve Chardonnay, Carneros, Napa Valley, California

I used to have a “go-to” Napa Valley Chardonnay from Carneros that I recommended to anyone who was looking for a big lush wonderful Chardonnay, but that recommendation now belongs to Artesa.

This Carneros Chardonnay took me by surprise; in fact on the first taste I did my Gomer Pyle imitation exclaiming surprise, surprise! Chardonnay is made in so many different styles and grown in so many different AVAs, sub-AVAs, and varied micro climates.

To paraphrase another idiot savant, “Chardonnay is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get.” With the Artesa, it will be rich and complex with aromas of vanilla on the forefront and a hint of clove in the background. Flavors of lemon cream, lush apple and pear. Textures are supple and there is hefty length in the smooth finish.

Rating: Excellent (94) | $40 | 13.5 % ABV

Wente Vineyards Small Lot Eric's Chardonnay