Gambal-Work, Sta. Rita Hills (Central Coast, California) Chardonnay Bentrock Vineyard 2018

($45):  It should come as no surprise that Gambal-Work’s Chardonnay should be outstanding, considering the beauty of Alex Gambal’s white Burgundies.  This tightly wound one from the Bentrock vineyard displays a chalky minerality reminiscent of a top Chassagne-Montrachet.  Youthful and reticent, it needs time in the glass to express itself.  And even then, it is not an opulently styled Chardonnay.  The focus here is on minerals, not so much fruit, which is hiding in the background.  Its grandeur is apparent in an explosive finish.  It is beautifully balanced — nothing sticks out — so a few years in the bottle should be very rewarding.  Those looking for oaky richness in their Chardonnay should look elsewhere.  Those looking for stylish and expressive ones will be very pleased.  These wines are not a gamble.  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist, but it’s true).
95 Michael Apstein Jan 18, 2022