RECOMMENDED: Wente Vineyards Estate Grown, “Morning Fog” 2010 Chardonnay, Livermore Valley/San Francisco Bay. 13.5% ABV. $12.99, available for as little as $9.95.

Intense, focused, and bracing, this pale golden wine definitely cuts through the fog.

NOSE: Even at its coldest, it was very aromatic with lemon, floral notes, hints of tropical flavors, and a breath of sea salt.

TASTE: Bright, tart with a snappy acidity. Lychee, delicate flowers. Lemon, green apple. Some oak, but not overpowered by it at all. Smooth, expansive, yet almost horizontal at first. Medium-bodied. Dry, tart and refreshing at the start, it softened considerably as it opened up, but was still aromatic and kept its refreshing and tropical character. Later, it had a faint butterscotch overtone to it, and transformed from dry to mouth-watering. An interesting ride!

FINISH: Minerals and stone, and a little bit of spice on the moderate finish.

CLOSURE: Cork.

PAIR WITH: Seafood. Good by itself.

CONCLUSION: An interesting wine. Approachable and enjoyable from the get-go, yet reveals more layers as it opens.

LABEL NOTES: Wente Vineyards, established in 1883, was the first California winery to produce a wine labeled as Chardonnay from grapes grown on its Wente Clone. Today, many of the great Chardonnay vineyards in California are planted with the Wente Clone. Our Morning Fog Chardonnay is Estate Grown and sustainably farmed in the Livermore Valley, a region where vineyards are cooled by morning fog that rolls in from the San Francisco Bay, resulting in enhanced varietal character and crisp, natural acidity. This flavorful wine, with notes of apple and toasty graham, delivers a lingering, refreshing finish. Enjoy.

WEB NOTES: Enjoy aromas and flavors of green apple and tropical fruits, balanced by subtle oak, cinnamon and vanilla from barrel aging. With a mouth-filling body and balanced acidity, this wine delivers a medium-long, refreshing finish.
* After learning about winemaking from Charles Krug, C. H. Wente, a first-generation immigrant from Germany, founded his own winery in 1883. Recognizing that the warm days, cool nights and gravelly soils of the Livermore Valley were ideal for growing grapes, he purchased 48 acres and planted vineyards. In 1918, C. H. Wente’s sons Ernest and Herman joined the business, with Ernest managing the vineyards and Herman acting as winemaker. The company was later passed on to Ernest’s only son Karl, and in 1977, Karl’s young son Eric took the helm. Continuing the legacy, the winery is managed today by the Fourth Generation of the Wente family, Eric, Philip, Carolyn, and the Fifth Generation, Christine and Karl. The winery has grown to include over 2,000 acres of vineyards in the Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay and 800 acres in Arroyo Seco, Monterey.
* In 2010, as a testimony to what has been a long-held tenet of the country’s oldest continuously owned and operated family winery, Wente Family Estates received certification for its sustainability with respect to vineyard, winery and company practices with the Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing designation. CCSW certification includes a third-party verification of a winery’s adherence to a process of continuous improvement in its adoption of sustainable winegrowing practices. It is the first statewide program available to both wineries and vineyards. (For more information on Wente’s sustainability program, visit www.wentevineyards.com/wine/sustainable_agriculture1/)

TECH STUFF:
Fermentation: 50% of this wine was barrel fermented in French oak, while the balance was fermented in stainless steel tanks to preserve the natural fruit flavors inherent in this Chardonnay.
Aging: The barrel fermented portion was aged sur lie for 7 months. Batonnage, the art of stirring the barrels, was performed monthly. The stainless steel portion was aged on lees for 7 months.
Winemaker: Karl D. Wente

WEB: www.WenteVineyards.com

Sample received for review.
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