California’s Performance on the WS Top 100: Carneros and Sonoma Coast
Chardonnay is often considered California’s ubiquitous white varietal, and there are many ordinary wines made with this grape. But the Shafer Vineyards 2004 Carneros Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay and Aubert 2004 Sonoma Coast Lauren Chardonnay are two wines that stand apart from the masses.
Famous for his Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon, Doug Shafer shows his winemaking versatility with the 2004 Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay. This is an interesting wine that was fermented with only wild yeasts. It was barrel aged but did not undergo malolactic fermentation.
This wine has beautifully pure varietal characteristics and was made with grapes from the cool Red Shoulder Ranch Vineyard in the Carneros AVA. Wind and fog from the San Pablo Bay cools the vines and keeps acidity high, despite relatively warm summertime temperatures.
Mark Aubert is on the short list of California’s best-known wine consultants. With a winemaking resume that includes working at Peter Michael, Sloan, and Colgin, there was considerable excitement when he announced the formation of his own label in 2000. Aubert Wines specializes in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast AVA.
The Aubert 2004 Sonoma Coast Lauren Chardonnay was ranked #30 on the WS Top 100. A bit more expensive than Shafer’s Red Shoulder Ranch, this really is a stunning wine. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to purchase without being on the mailing list.