10 Chardonnays to start 2014

By on January 5, 2014

Columbia Crest 2012 Grand Estates Unoaked Chardonnay, Washington, $12

columbia-crest-grand-estates-unoaked-chardonnay-bottleBest Buy! The backlash against big, buttery, oaky, California-style Chardonnay continues, and Washington’s second-largest winery gets into the game in a big way. This new release from Columbia Crest is unusual in a few ways, not the least of which is a screwcap — atypical for Ste. Michelle Wine Estate bottlings. The wine also carries the “Washington” appellation instead of “Columbia Valley.” And the wine did not go through secondary malolactic fermentation, which keeps it clean and bright. This stunning Chardonnay opens with aromas of fresh pear, apple, apricot and melon, followed by flavors of grapefruit, pineapple, a hint of lemon and even a whisper of rosewater. Bright acidity throughout is like biting into a crisp apple, and the finish goes on forever.

Rating: Outstanding!

Production: 25,000 cases

Alcohol: 13.5%

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About Andy Perdue

Andy Perdue is the editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine. He is a third-generation journalist who has worked at newspapers since the mid-1980s and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Eric Degerman and served as its editor-in-chief for 15 years. He is a frequent judge at international wine competitions. He is the author of "The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer's Handbook" (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books. He writes about wine for The Seattle Times. You can find him on Twitter and .

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