Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay Belle Terre Vineyard 2010

chateau-st-jean-chardonnay-belle-terre-2010From dependable, Sonoma-based Chateau St. Jean comes this single site-designated Chardonnay at a big-time value price. The 40-year-old estate is known for structured and balanced wines – and soaring achievements like the Cinq Cépages bottling – that don’t get in the way of food.

The Chateau St. Jean Chardonnay Belle Terre Vineyard 2010 is drawn from the Alexander Valley. A long-term agreement has allowed the winery to source from Belle Terre since 1975, and the sandy and gravel-rich earth delivers a strong sense of place, courtesy of the vines. Parenthetically, the vineyard also produces Cab that goes into the Cinq Cépages blend.

Smooth, with broad, oak-influenced aromas and pretty straw coloring, the Belle Terre exudes sophistication. Lean despite a complex palate of cinnamon and nutmeg, vanilla and citrus, it’s also well-trussed by stony minerality and a slight metallic edge. Though it’s reportedly kept in French oak, I’d be surprised if the juice didn’t spend a short stint in stainless steel, if not neutral barrels.

At a compelling Chairman’s Selection price tag of $14.99, it’s a Chardonnay to add to your list.

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