I had the opportunity to taste three Chardonnays from one of Sonoma's better known wineries and decided to review them all in this post so you could see how they compare. A winery whose main focus is Chardonnay, Sonoma-Cutrer was established in the early 70's and has developed over the years into one of the premier wineries in Sonoma. I tasted 3 of 5 of their Chard's and here's what I thought:
2005 Sonoma-Cutrer Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
The standard and largest production wine of the Sonoma-Cutrer lineup was to me surprisingly pleasant and a better wine than I had expected. Aromas of lemon, lemon curd, creamy custard, lime peel, and a very slight toasted oak, lead into flavors of very vibrant lime that is accompanied by a nice mineral character. The flavors are quite rich but the texture isn't thick so it finishes nice and clean. The only thing to critique would be the lack of depth and real complexity but the wine is very nicely made. I score this wine 89 points.
2004 Sonoma-Cutrer Les Pierres Chardonnay
This was the most complex and gratifying wine of the three and really showed great finesse and purity. The nose shows more aromas attributed to oak and perhaps a higher toastiness. Floral, citrus, nutmeg, and beautiful caramel aromas lead into flavors of creamy lemon, lilac, caramel, and minerals. The key to this wine for me is the minerality and the perfect balance of fruit and oak. The oak is only used as a minor spice and adds complexity but doesn't distract from the beauty of the fruit and fragile terroir. Clean, pure, rich, and complex are all words to describe this fantastic California Chardonnay. I score this wine 93 points.
2004 Sonoma-Cutrer The Cutrer Chardonnay
The creamiest and fatest Chard of the three, "The Cutrer" shows aromas of caramel popcorn, pear, and oak. Round in texture and darker in color the flavors show distinctive hints of toasted oak, soft citrus, and a touch of pear. This wine does not show the purity of fruit of the previous two wines and would most likely cater to the fans of oaky and buttery California Chardonnays. This is not exactly my cup of tea, but I understand the appeal of such a wine. I have seen this quality of wine done for around twenty dollars retail. I score this wine 86 points.
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