Year in and year out, Mer Soleil’s Chardonnay is one of the biggest, most distinctive ones in California. The ’06 is almost like a late-harvest dessert wine, rich in apricot jam, pineapple custard and new oak butterscotch flavors, but for all the opulence, it’s entirely dry, and has zesty Monterey acidity. Almost a food group in itself, it will challenge chefs to…
Fabulously rich and complex, this wine stuns the palate with its ever-shifting flavors, which range from citrus through apples, peaches and tropical fruits. Spicy and cinnamony, with an elaborate oak overlay that is perfectly suited for fruit this big. Lush and opulent, right through the long finish. —S.H.
Lush and ripe, with a heady collection of tropical fruit flavors that ranges from mango, coconut and pineapple to lemon, melon and orange. Hints of spice and vanilla add interest, while a subtle earthy quality contributes complexity. Dense and long at the end.
Oak brings strong buttered toast and vanilla flavors to this Chardonnay. But it’s also a powerhouse from the vineyard, with massive orange, pineapple and apricot flavors. May even have some botrytis, to judge from the honeyed sweetness. Yet for all the opulence, the finish is dry.
This shows the ripe tropical fruit of a fine vintage, yet maintains the keen citrusy acidity that makes this vineyard’s Chards so balanced and ageworthy. Beneath the pineapple marmalade, apricot and caramelly oak flavors is a rich, flinty minerality that cries out for lobster.
Classic Mer Soleil, which is to say it’s a small nuclear explosion in the mouth. Don’t drink it too cold, or you’ll minimize the rich tropical fruit and vanilla cream flavors. This big Chard should be enjoyed with food that’s buttery and slightly sweet, like broiled lobster.
Hard to figure why the Wagners of Caymus don’t put the fine Santa Lucia Highlands AVA on the front label, but there’s no questioning the quality of this wine. It’s brilliant in tropical fruit and pear flavors, with a lavish overlay of smoky oak and a very long, sweet finish. Has those citrusy, minerally Monterey acids that perk up the flavors, making them even richer.