Price Range : $18 - 20
Region: Santa Barbara County, California Ready to Drink: Immediately upon release
It’s nice to see one of the most popular names in Napa produce an excellent Chardonnay at an affordable price, and with grapes from sustainable vineyards located in Santa Barbara County—despite all the attention it’s gotten, a wine region still vastly underrated for Chardonnay.
Does sustainable wine make it a better wine? Yes, it does. We see a future where the majority of consumers will absolutely demand that wineries which they support with their retail dollars have implemented environmentally-responsible vineyard practices.
This review is part of our ongoing series spotlighting great wines from sustainable wineries.
The 2016 LYRIC Chardonnay, vinted and bottled at Napa’s Etude winery, at 14.1% ABV, is a bold, broad and robust delight. So what, the current wine media will tell you that dry Chablis-like Chardonnay is where it’s at. But big, creamy Chardonnay, when done right—which usually means having a good balance of acidity to offset all that concentration of flavor and largesse—doesn’t get old. Is it already time to refer to this kind of Chardonnay as “retro?”
On the nose, you can smell the butter and burst of lemony freshness. Notes of young pineapple and vanilla spice also rise to the surface—all of it striking and provocative. And then, piercing through the full-bodied thickness of fruit-forward flavor comes that assertive citrus acidity. Just begging for fresh stone crab claws or a lobster po’ boy.
Go big on the meal, but you don’t have to go too big on the price of a great bottle to go with that meal. This Chardonnay’s sophistication and authoritatively lyrical and harmonious quality will hold up to the high bar set.
What you’ve got is the best of both California worlds: Santa Barbara meets Napa county. –J.M.