2016 Joyce Vineyards, Chardonnay, Tondre Grapefield, Santa Lucia Highlands.
The steely fresh new release Tondre Grapefield Chardonnay from Russell Joyce and team is a winner, maybe the best yet from this vineyard I’ve ever tasted with it’s crunchy mineral charms and vibrant/racy fruit this is pure class! As mentioned in many recent reviews here, Russell is one of the rising stars in California’s central coast and is one of a new generation in Monterey that is breaking the old mold and crafting a more seriously exciting and vibrant style of wines, going away from heavy extraction and flashy new oak and making beautifully detailed wines that showcase the unique terroirs of this region. This latest Tondre Chardonnay is the anti-Rombauer, and while I have lots of respect for the success of Rombauer’s famous “Cougar Juice”, this Joyce Tondre is much more thrilling with a Chablis like energy and verve, it’s not a fat and flabby butter bomber, though generous and stylish with a focused harmony and texture. The nose is stony and full of mineral tones, along with hints of white flowers, brine and lemon oil that is classic white Burgundy, I was taken aback at how good this wine started and even more intrigued by the whole performance with it’s vivid bosc pear, granny smith apple and zesty mayer lemon core fruits as well as Italian garden herbs, chalky wet rock, white peach, faint golden fig, a touch of saline, subtle wood, used French oak, a whiff of tropical essences and verbena/kumquat on the graceful finish. This wine stays invigorating even with air, and while the 2016 Joyce Tondre Grapefield, mostly coming from Dijon Clones, gains roundness as it warms in the glass it remains lithe and lean with a medium body and impressive intensity. If you are looking for a stellar post modern Chardonnay that reminds you of just how dynamic California Chardonnay can be, this is a wine to get, drink now through 2023.
($30 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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