If you need a new chardonnay, I got you. It’s even from California. I don’t like chardonnay to taste like a pile of hopped-up wood chips as is often the case with California chards. I typically shy away from them altogether due to style or offensive price point. When I had the chance to experience Dierberg Estate Vineyards Chardonnay, I did some internal eye rolling before even tasting. Reading the bottle, I livened up a bit learning the wine hailed from Santa Maria Valley. Though I wasn’t familiar with Dierberg, I do know that this is a great place to grow chardonnay and pinot noir. The cool, ocean climate with rolling fog and wind creates interesting Burgundian-type wines.
My research of this wine now entailed a total of 10 seconds of label reading, but it was wine time at Chateau Reed, so I went a-pouring. I’ll be! I inhaled my first glass in glee and poured my second glass before sharing how delicious it was with my husband. The wine is graceful, unpretentious, and subtly wise. I felt like it knew it was badass, but didn’t need to flaunt it.
On a mesa above the Santa Maria River, the Dierberg Vineyard sits in loamy soil deeply integrated with old-school marine sediment. I dig that fresh, ocean essence in chardonnay – that light, lively character. This 2013 spent 16 months in French oak barrels (15 percent new), giving it that softer, rounder structure. This was no fruit-bomb wine. Or oak-bomb wine. This was a beautifully finessed chardonnay worthy of a great book, worthy of sharing though I didn’t want to, and worthy of purchasing again and again. You can find it at both Hi-Time Wine Cellars (hitimewine.net) and Wine Exchange (winex.com) for just under $30. More than 3,000 cases were produced, so stock up for spring and summer—heck, fall and winter, too. After falling in love with the wine, I did some homework and learned it had earned a 93-point rating from Antonio Galloni of Vinous Media, 92 points from Jeb Dunnuck of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, and 91 points from James Laube of Wine Spectator. Confirmed. This wine is badass.