2015 Mount Eden, Chardonnay, Estate, Santa Cruz Mountains.
The gorgeous 2015 Mount Eden Estate Chardonnay shows amazing depth, complexity, texture and length, it satisfies all the senses and is one of the great wines of California, and the world! As I have mentioned in a recent review of their brilliant Pinot Noir, Mount Eden is one of the most celebrated and cherished small boutique wineries in California making estate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Mount Eden’s winery and vines sit about 2,000 feet up above what is now Silicon Valley, it was originally founded as the Martin Ray Estate back in the mid 1940s and over the following 20 plus years became known for exceptional Chards and Pinots. In 1970 Ray lost the property to an investor coup and in 1972 it became Mount Eden, and they hired Pinot guru Richard Graff who had founded Chalone, who crafted the legendary 1972 and 1973 vintages before the owners brought on the little known woman winemaker Merry Edwards, who is now a California icon! In the more modern era of Mount Eden Vineyards Jeffrey Patterson, winemaker has made the estate one of California’s absolute best, he was originally hired as the assistant winemaker back in 1981. Having graduated in biology from UC Berkeley in 1975, Patterson was fortunate to have been in Berkeley in the 1970s when local food and wine in the Bay Area were becoming relevant with the likes of Alice Waters creating a huge buzz. This is when she opened the famed Chez Panisse and Kermit Lynch had just started bringing in some of the great undiscovered wines of France, and the public were getting their first chance to explore French cuisine as well as have it paired with famous old world wines, all of which inspired and helped form Patterson’s future approach to his wines.
Patterson’s 2015 Estate Chardonnay flows across the palate with a full bodied opulence, but with fine detailing and balance in the mode of a fine Puligny or maybe more like bolder vintage of Batard, richly pleasing and with layers of ripe apple, lemon curd, pear and peach tart along with mineral tones, creme brûlée, golden fig, orange blossom, a faint trace of dried pineapple, toast and vanilla. There is some earthy elements, saline and stony flavors in the background and an underlying natural acidity that cuts into the luxurious concentration that makes this regal wine stand out, Mount Eden and Hanzell still make awesome Chardonnay and this vintage of Mount Eden is positively awesome and it should prove to be a classic, I can imagine it aging well for another decade easily with charm, grace and hedonistic style. Patterson notes that these wines, which come from unique Burgundy clonal material that is know known as Mount Eden Clone and he details the winemaking here as follows, with the Estate Chardonnay grapes getting harvested when slightly yellow to yellow-green and are pressed without crushing. Adding that, all of the juice is barrel-fermented in new and one-year-old French Burgundy barrels, where the wine undergoes full malolactic fermentation and elevage on the lees lasted for close to ten months before being lightly filtered prior to bottling. Patterson like to give his wines time to age and fill out, so the Estate Chardonnay is rested in Mount Eden’s cellar for two years before being released for sale. And we all benefit from that dedication to quality with the later release of these wines and this vintage is sublime and darn near perfection in the glass, in fact all the currant estate offerings are fantastic here and should not be missed, all are build to age and have great potential for those that like to put down their wines, but drinking great now.
($60 Est.) 96 Points, grapelive