Must-Try Wine of Week: 2013 (Noble Vines) 446 San Bernabe Vineyard Monterey Chardonnay

On your next market visit, look for this value-priced, but quality chardonnay. A brand in the Delicato Family Vineyards portfolio, (Noble Vines) designates their lineup of wines by numbers. It is easy to spot this wine as the numbers “446” are displayed in large, bright letters on the label.

A single vineyard wine at this price level is a rarity. The San Bernabe Vineyard in Monterey County benefits from morning fog, warm days, afternoon breezes, and cool nights, leading to extended hang time for the chardonnay grapes planted here. The grapes are Martini clone 4 and are planted in block 46 of the vineyard, equaling “446.”

Half of the lots are allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation (ML), in which tart malic acid is converted to softer-tasting lactic acid as part of secondary fermentation while the wine is aged in stainless steel and oak barrels. The lots that do not undergo ML give the finished wine vibrancy and tension, while the lots that do undergo ML contribute more body and richness.

This is a solid offering, featuring aromas of pear, cut apple, and slate. Slightly creamy on the palate, this wine has bright flavors of apple, pear, melon, and vanilla cream. It aims to please with an uplifting spring in its step.

Very slightly chilled, the wine is inviting on its own, but is best enjoyed as an accompaniment to Brie and other soft cheeses, grilled halibut, roast chicken, or pasta with cream sauce.

Among the oceans of chardonnay in the marketplace, this stands out at its price point. It’s available for $12 or less at most supermarkets and retailers—Total Wine and BevMo! in Orange County.

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