While a growing number of Northwest producers pursue Chablis-inspired Chardonnay, there’s still a thirst for the reserve styles that California helped make famous. Bob Bertheau and Chateau Ste. Michelle continue to serve those consumers with this well-priced expression under the Indian Wells banner. Now more of a reference to rich and tropical expressions rather than the namesake Indian Wells Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope, the Indian Wells Chardonnay includes grapes from Cold Creek Vineyard as well as some from the Wahluke Slope. The lots spent six months of 100% surlie aging inside a barrel program of 35% new oak, and there’s some malolactic fermentation as well for roundness. Hints of toasted coconut, blanched almond, butter and pineapple are presented in a rich and delicious fashion that’s followed with a burst of lemon/lime. Suggested pairings include salmon, shellfish, crab, creamy pasta dishes with tarragon or thyme and white mean such as pork or poultry.
Production: 137,000 cases
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