2016 Alfaro Family Vineyards, Chardonnay, Rosella’s Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands.
The beautiful pale gold and straw colored Rosella’s Chard by Richard Alfaro is a richly flavored and textural white that delivers a classic Santa Lucia Highlands performance and profile, similar in vein to Jeff Pisoni’s Lucia Vineyards, Morgan’s and Roar’s own Rosella’s. Only 200 cases were made of this Alfaro Family Rosella’s Chardonnay coming of the estate of Gary Francsioni in the cooler end of the Highlands from a mix of clones, mostly Dijon set on the sandy loam(s) that gets a cool breeze and marine influence that allows a long growing season and deep flavor development. Richard Alfaro, a winemaker with a great gift with Chardonnay, both as a winemaker and as a grower, raised his Rosella’s for 9 months in French oak barriques of which 40% were new, the barrel tones are perfectly matched to the ripe fruit and vibrant acidity, making for a full bodied Chardonnay, but one with a balanced form and lovely elegance. This Chard can be enjoyed with cuisine, especially with a variety of sea foods, while bold and lush it’s keeps it’s vitality and charm throughout, and it drinks great all it’s own and with popcorn while watching a movie or a sunset at the beach. The palate is filled with complexity, but pleases with a smooth sense of stylish seamlessness, it flows with baked apple, golden fig, a touch of tropical fruit along with lemon curd, vanilla and a hint of butterscotch, adding delicate lime blossom, wet stone, saline and yellow peach notes. This is an under the radar addition to Alfaro’s lineup from a Cru site, and a plush counterpoint to his other offerings, like his mineral driven Trout Gulch and gorgeous Estate Lindsay Paige, as well as his exotic (Kongsgaard Clone) Mary Katherine Chardonnay, all of which are serious wines that are also insanely great values! Richard farms and crafts some of the best California Chardonnay, especially for the price, and if you’ve not tried them, then you are missing out, these are beauties, plus he does a set of Pinots, both from his own estate vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains as well as like this Rosella’s Chard, from select sites, including Garys’ and Rosella’s. His winery in Corralitos is a must visit when you are in the region, other than the mentioned Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Alfaro also makes Gruner Veltliner, a fun Rosé of Pinot Noir, a Sparkling Brut and a very limited estate Syrah that are certainly worth checking out. The 2016 Rosella’s Chard shows a ready to drink and overt personality that is hard to resist, it should age nicely for 3 to 5 years, but I adore it’s youthful fresh underpinning and would not wait.
($32 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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