Talbott Vineyards, Santa Lucia Highlands (Monterey County, California) Chardonnay Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Estate Grown 2017

($42):  David Coventry, the head winemaker at Talbott explained during a webinar in the excellent SommCon Geographical Digest Series (a collaboration between The Somm Journal and National Geographic), that the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA is truly a cool climate area because of its proximity to the ocean.  The cooling influences are especially apparent at the northern end where the 565-acre Sleepy Hollow Vineyard is located.  This enormous vineyard, basically the size of all of Volnay in Burgundy, is an ideal local for Chardonnay because the cool climate allows the grapes to ripen slowly, accumulating flavor, and to maintain acidity, which translates into refreshing vivacity in the wine.  Talbott acquired the vineyard, which was originally planted in 1972, in 1994, after having made wine from its fruit for years. Their 2017 version displays a graceful creaminess mixed with lovely stone-y elements. Balanced, bright and not overwrought, it carries the 14.6 percent stated-alcohol beautifully, without a trace of heat in the finish.  The fine texture suggests oak aging, but there’s not a trace of oakiness in the wine.  This is a finesse-filled Chardonnay that demonstrates the importance of site.
93 Michael Apstein Dec 1, 2020