Rodney Strong Vineyards, Chalk Hill, Sonoma County (California) Chardonnay 2018

($22):  It is not surprising that Rodney Strong’s Chalk Hill Chardonnay continues to be an outstanding wine.  If anyone knows where to grow Chardonnay in Sonoma, it’s Rodney Strong.  He was bottling a Chardonnay under that label before there even was a Chalk Hill AVA.  The grapes come from five vineyards, three of their own and two from growers.  It’s a balanced zippy wine, conveying both pleasingly tart green apple-like flavor and riper pear-like ones.  Not overdone, its 13.5 percent-stated alcohol reminds us that you don’t need super ripe grapes to make a super wine.  To their credit, they manage to maintain its quality despite making about 720,000 bottles of it annually, which means it should be easy to find.  It’s also easy on the wallet.
93 Michael Apstein Jan 26, 2021