This Cool California Chardonnay is a Steal at $21.99

A Wine Find with a Fruity Spirit

BY // 07.27.17

The 365-acre plot of land is located in a cooler area (temperature-wise) of Napa Carneros, and was planted with eight varieties of grapes, including Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay. It’s called Mitsuko’s Vineyard, and was named after the late wife of Jan Shrem, the founder of Clos Pegase, the winery that produced a bottle I sampled this week, the 2015 Mitsuko’s Vineyard Chardonnay.

The 2015 growing season in that area was perfect for this Chardonnay, as a spate of cool weather at fruit-set resulted in low yields and the concomitant concentrated grapes, which were picked in the early morning during the first three weeks of September. Gentle pressing, followed by 10 months in 30 percent new French oak and a light filtration at the end of the process, resulted in 5,201 cases of the vintage.

The first thing we noticed upon pouring this wine was brilliant bright pear on the nose, followed by a somewhat sweet honeysuckle note. Pleasant, fresh, vibrant. The oak was understated, slight, and the acidity stellar. In the glass, the Mitsuko’s Vineyard was pale straw in color, and the filtration lended it a stark clarity.

On the palate, you’ll enjoy some citrus and a touch of pear, and if you are partial to delicate oakiness, go ahead and get a bottle of this, because I think you will appreciate it. (It retails for around $30, but I’ve seen it for sale at several locations for as low as $21.99.)

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I paired the Clos Pegase Chardonnay — 14.1 percent alcohol — with goat cheese and bread, plus a drizzle of olive oil. Simple, natural, a good combination, and the wine loved it. I would also happily drink it with a zucchini au gratin, sautéed shrimp, or a cheese tart.

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