It is five o’clock in the afternoon. You are in a hurry on your way to a fancy dinner party, or doing last minute shopping for your friend’s birthday. You might not be shopping for anyone, just looking for a bottle of rich, buttery chardonnay to take home. You already know what you are looking for, the ever reliable and affordable Carneros Chardonnay, Rombauer. You walk in to the store, confidently and in haste, you make your way to the Chardonnay section and ask one of our wine consultants “Do you have any Rombauer?” The answer is cold and direct. “Sorry, all out for the summer.” You can start panicking now.
This is a situation that may be all too familiar to many of our Rombauer loving customers and not only here at Beltramo’s. Every summer, due to strict store allocations and massive consumer demand, Rombauer Chardonnay has a tendency to dry up and disappear until the Fall, leaving many Rombauer Chard loyalists longing for their favorite creamy, rich tropical elixir. However, there is no reason to panic. Your personal wine consultants here at Beltramo’s have you covered with a vast knowledge of full bodied California Chardonnays to help you survive the summer heat, and maybe even find a new favorite!
First we start off with a charming and affordable Chardonnay from Sonoma’s Russian River Valley, the 2010 L’Oliveto (available in-store only). This lightly rich Chardonnay yields great complexity, with zangy aromas of lemon grass and tropical fruits, followed by a round and slightly buttery mouth feel. For Rombauer enthusiasts planning for a large event that would like to supply guests with multiple bottles at an affordable cost, L’Oliveto most certainly fits the bill.
Now let’s say that the weekend hasn’t come yet, or you don’t have any big dinner dates planned for the evening. Rombauer can get a little pricey for every day drinking. From the esteemed Sleepy Hollow Vineyard, 2010 Talbott Logan Chardonnay is convenient and frugal at $17.99, but by no means should it be looked at as inferior to the premier Talbott Chardonnay ($29.99). Both are from the same lauded Sleepy Hollow Vineyard; however, Logan is grown on younger vines, thus lending itself to a modest price. The nose is a bouquet of creamy apricots and honey suckle leading up to a rich, full bodied palate with a long smooth and refreshing finish, perfect for the middle of the week.
With the weekdays taken care of, we now tackle the main cause for arms of this article: what do you do when there is no Rombauer? First, don’t panic. Second, grab yourself a bottle of 2009 Solitude. Like Rombauer, this Chardonnay is sourced from the Carneros, but that is not the end of the two chardonnay’s similarities. The wine maker for Solitude, Richard Litsch, is also an old Rombauer alumnus, having worked for Rombauer producing their award-winning Chardonnay. Featuring that same smooth, full bodied richness that Rombauer fans know and love, Solitude is layered with complex notes of cream coconut, passion fruit, and lemon zest, truly a triumphant homage to its foundation! Oh, did we also mention that it is a few dollars cheaper at $26.99?
Our last scenarios for this article are for that significant other, that best friend, or maybe even that boss or colleague at work. You are looking for a special bottle of wine for that special occasion, and perhaps you know that they are fond of full bodied California Chardonnays. At Beltramo’s you have many options of eclectic and rare Chardonnays to choose from, but we will stick to a California staple; Kistler. The most affordable of Kistler’s Chardonnays, the Sonoma Mountain 2010, is elegant and Burgundian in style. A symphony of stone and tropical fruits intertwine with subtle minerality and toasty richness, the Kistler Sonoma Mountain can be enjoyed immediately, but shines it’s best after a couple short years of age. At $59.99, it is luxurious without breaking the bank, and would compliment anyone’s cellar, or accompanied by a hearty steamed lobster with a light butter sauce and a spring salad.
As demand increases and yields remain relatively the same, not every fan will always be able to have their favorite Chardonnay. However, as this list will show you, there are always new hidden gems and award-winning Chardonnays around every corner, and your personal wine consultants here at Beltramo’s have done all the research for you to match you with the wine that is right for you. There are many delicious Chardonnays from a variety of styles and prices to choose from, so get out there and start trying them! There might not always be a Rombauer for all occasions, but there is always a right Chardonnay.
James LaMar, Beltramo’s Wine Consultant