2015 Alfaro Family Vineyards, Chardonnay, Lindsay Paige Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains.
The richly flavored and concentrated estate Lindsay Paige Chardonnay from Richard Alfaro is one of the best values in California Chardonnay currently available, it’s a refined and wonderful example of grape and place coming in at a balanced 13.5% natural alcohol and with lush mouth filling textures. This small lots cuvee is drinking exceptionally well at the moment with ripe golden fruits, creamy roundness, stony/earthy notes and spicy/sweet toasty oak shadings leading the way, it’s a wine that should continue to excel over the next 3 to 5 years, with a core of good acidity that is gracefully subtle to the taste, but holding things together with vigor. Alfaro does most ferments in a combination of stainless steel and French oak with the Lindsay Paige usually seeing about 40% new oak, making for a fuller expression of Chardonnay showing apple, pear and lemon curd fruits with layers of liquid mineral, hazelnut, brioche, clove spiciness and Tahitian vanilla.
This pale golden Chardonnay was in barrel about 8 months and has developed very nicely in bottle, gaining a beautiful creaminess while staying vivid in detail, it’s a really impressive white that goes gloriously with cuisine including soft cheeses, lobster and fatty fish dishes as well as poultry. The 2015 is one of Alfaro’s most opulent vintages, a tiny crop and intensely flavorful berries have made this edition a thrill, I can’t wait to try his latest 2017 release too, a vintage many people are saying is even better. Richard Alfaro also is one of the best growers in the south Santa Cruz Mountains and has an all star list of winery clients for his grapes that includes Big Basin, Arnot Roberts, Jamie Kutch and Ceritas to name a few, so if you’ve not discovered Richard’s own lineup yet, it is a great time to do so, and especially his Chardonnay from both his estate like this Lindsay Paige and the Trout Gulch old vine, both are terrific values and brilliant wines.
($30 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive