2019 Chardonnay Los Alamos Vineyard
Vineyard: The Los Alamos Vineyard is roughly 500 planted acres, most of which is on flat bottomland of the Los Alamos Valley that is sandwiched between the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley appellations. The best grapes from this vineyard are found to the north on the gentle slopes of the hills.
We source from grapes grown at the top of the wind-swept slopes of the Solomon Hills. On this hilltop the wind and shallower soils keep the yields low and the grapes struggle to ripen. Even though it is a struggle, the small crop ripens early. This is the first Chardonnay to arrive at the winery for the last 10 years. The small crop on these hardy vines is concentrated.
Au Bon Climat and Los Alamos Vineyard share a lot of history. The first Au Bon Climat winery was a small barn on the Los Alamos Vineyard property. That was in 1982. Since then Los Alamos Vineyard has changed hands a few times and Au Bon Climat moved from that property in 1989. Most of the owners of Los Alamos have been interested in farming cheaply and setting and ripening a lot of grapes. This sort of viticulture was of no interest to Au Bon Climat. In 2004, the farming of this vineyard was “handed over” to Tavo Acosta. Tavo is one of the new generation of viticulturists in the Santa Maria area. This group of grape growers are motivated to grow the best grapes to make the best wine and they drink wine, too. This newer farming is more hands on and expensive than the earlier methods, but the quality difference is huge. The improvements at Los Alamos vineyard are ongoing and this vineyard will be a large part of the Au Bon Climat portfolio going forward.
Wine& Spirits Magazine
Score: 92/BEST BUY From the exceedingly cool vineyard site, this chardonnay is all structure at present, brooding and turned in on itself, driven by floating lees and linear oak, beneath which modest fruit and a teeming citrus acidity boils. It's the movement in the wine, independent of unresolved flavors, that assures me of the wine's potential. For the cellar. - P.J.C.
Score: 90 The light gold-hued 2019 Chardonnay Los Alamos Vineyard comes all from the Los Alamos Vineyard in Santa Maria and was brought up in 50% new French oak. It's a great value as well as an introduction into the style of this estate. Toasted spices, nuts, white flowers, and more stone fruits all emerge from the glass, and it's medium-bodied, with a layered, nicely textured mouthfeel, bright acidity, and a clean finish.