By Wine Spectator
MER SOLEIL Chardonnay Santa Barbara County Reserve 2012
Issue: Jul 31, 2015
Offers a generous mix of tropical fruit, with guava, pineapple and mango flavors accented by melon, spice and floral notes. Well-focused and shaded by light toasty oak, this gains depth and nuance on the creamy finish. Drink now. -JL
By Caymus Vineyards
Mer Soleil 2012 Santa Barbara County Reserve Chardonnay
“Chardonnay offers a great opportunity to experiment with different regions and create wines that reflect a unique sense of place. Mer Soleil literally means ‘the sun and sea,’ and these two elements put their mark on a vineyard. With this new Santa Barbara Chardonnay, it’s exciting to see exactly how.” -Charlie Wagner, Owner and Winemaker
We believe in the power of place - even subtle differences in sun, wind and proximity to the ocean can have a strong influence on a wine’s unique character, opening up new possibilities for Chardonnay. We are always searching for great vineyard sources and learned of this Central Coast vineyard because it is so close to the Clark and Telephone vineyard, where our family sources some of the grapes for Belle Glos Pinot Noir. We were so impressed by the quality of the grapes that we decided to make a Santa Barbara Chardonnay. Beautiful Santa Barbara County is slightly warmer than the Santa Lucia Highlands, where we first planted Chardonnay grapes in 1988. It is picturesque in its own unique way, close to the coast, with strawberries dotting the nearby land. At harvest, we pick the grapes a little earlier than in the Highlands, catering to the climate and creating a wine with natural acidity and crispness.
This Santa Barbara Chardonnay has a weighty texture, one of the key distinguishing features that makes it a compelling new wine in our portfolio. Like our original Reserve, this bottling is fermented and aged in older French oak barrels to prevent excessive wood flavor from penetrating the wine. Only a portion goes through malolactic fermentation to ensure the wine’s acidity, and hand stirring of the barrels ensures its creaminess.
With a bright golden hue that catches the light, the 2012 vintage evokes the scent of fresh melon and apricot, layered with hints of brown spice and cloves. On the palate, the wine is round and creamy, its mineral character enveloped in buttery richness and the taste of stone fruit. The finish is a wisp of acidity, providing balance and brightness and calling you back for another sip.
[Information provided Winebow]