I am not a Chardonnay fan. A friend gave me this wine over the Holidays. Always wanting to try something new I opened this last night. There was a vague aroma of hay and oak, as I stuck my nose into the bottle.
The full golden color was a complete give away to what was coming. Full, rich, buttery an big oak. I am assuming the malolactic fermentation did exactly what it was supposed to do.
Full bodied but soft. Big Buttery, oak bomb. this is a very popular style of Chardonnay, not mine though. But, leaving my personal tastes aside (I realize that MANY people love this style) this is a very good wine. I admit i drank most of the bottle, I did I did.
this was a gift so I really am not sure the price, but I would think under 20
God didn’t make little green apples and it doesn’t rain in…..wherever, Martin Ray Chard, Los Carneros. Martin Ray is an old brand, currently owned by Courtney Benham. What he has done with this brand is amazing. Bringing it back to life and making it one of California’s top tier productions.
My wife is an ABC ( anything but chardonnay) kinda person. But tonight I amazed her.
Opening the bottle the aroma of green apples blew through the room. It was just overwhelming.
The golden straw color sparkles in he light. Beautiful.
Taking a small sip my wifes’ eye lit up. I did gooood. Matching the aroma, the taste of green apples, citrus, and pear. So much fruit. Balanced and full bodied. Perfect acidity. This wine is great. Smooth, rich, complex with a long fruit finish
One of the best wines I have had in a long time, not to mention Chardonnay.
So before I talk about the #ceja wines let me tell you a little bit about their history. A family of immigrants (yes I am going there Trump), who through hard work, perseverance and the desire to live the American dream have succeeded in building one of the most respected and hi end wineries in Napa. Working in various jobs in Napa the family literally learned the business from the ground up. A true American success story..Amelia Ceja was named woman of the year in 2005, she and her daughter, Dalia, have graced the cover of many magazines and continue to build the brand in powerhouse fashion. From the beginning with the first 15 acres purchased by Amelia and her husband Pedro and family members Pablo, Armando and Juanita. Armando is now the winemaker at Ceja (and doing a magnificent job). OK enough gushing about the family and their success. (Just for the record.. I visited the vineyards a couple of years ago and was treated to a winetasting and food prepared by the matriarch yummmmm.
Now to three of their wines.
Ceja Chardonnay Carneros;
First that beautiful color, golden straw, sunset, you take your pick. Aromas that revel with citrus and green apple. The mouth is coated in refreshing light crisp citrus notes, followed by notes of tree fruits, pear and apple. Very well balanced. A perfect summer refreshing white.
Ceja Pinot Noir Carneros
A light ruby color. The nose is very floral, with hints of ripe red fruits. The wine coats your mouth with so many flavors wow the depth of complexity is amazing. Ripe red fruit flavors, plum and cherry followed by a spicy finish. Beautiifully balanced with elegant soft tannins.
Ceja Vino de Casa Red Napa
Everyone loves a great red blend, a common table wine. But this is anything other than a common wine. Dark red, not quite garnet. The bouquet erupts with aromas of violets and cherry. Very fruity on the palate. Rich red fruit, a long finish
As I continue to state I am not a fan of those big oaky chards from California. Most of them are not balanced and have an overpowering sense of cardboard. That said I have to swallow my pride and admit ….I like this one.
This wine has it all. Balance, fruit, oak lots if depth and structure.
The nose emits aromas of green apple, fresh cut grass ( yes that’s what I said). The color of a golden sun on a summer day. All combines into the experience.
The wine hits your tongue and immediately you notice all of the fruit nuances. Apple, peach, buttery notes and that oak. But in this case it is not offputting, ( if that is a word). A nice finish, it does not linger, but is refreshing and satisfying.
Charlie Wagner is the winemaker, yes of that Wagner family. And he does great work here. I will follow with a review of his Santa Lucia Highlands in the coming weeks.