California Chardonnay can fall into a variety of categories. There are those that are intensely ripe and fruity. There are those that have minerality and tremendous grace. There are those that are buttery and oaky. And then there are those that are powerful, kick ass and take names. The 2012 NEWTON Unfiltered Chardonnay, which is comprised of grapes from the Carneros and Knights Valley regions of California, falls into the last category.
You will notice something unique about this wine the moment you pour it into a glass—a slight hazy appearance. This is due to the “unfiltered” aspect in the winemaking process; the lack of interference adds an extra level of naturalness and purity to the character of the juice and amps up the intensity level. The nose exudes tropical fruit, and then the palate is treated to an explosion of butterscotch, pear and apricot flavors as well as an abundance of oak (this spends 15 months aging in French oak barrels). The mouthfeel is definitely creamy and, overall, the wine possesses unmatched richness, with a finish as long as any Chardonnay produced in this country.
Some might say white wines, as compared to reds, tend to be on the feminine side. Okay, fine. But, if that is the case, this Newton Unfiltered is no dainty princess—try Ronda Rousey. –R.K.
Added to: Really Good Wine List [October 2015]