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Sierra Madre Vineyard Chardonnay 2007

by Nannette Eaton on January 11, 2010

“Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.”  — Henry Miller

Sierra Madre Vineyard Chardonnay 2007 is the best chardonnay made in America.  Wine Harlots might be prone to hyperbole or mistaken identity  —  but not this time.  My vision is 20/20 on this one.  There’s gold in them there hills.  This is the treasure of Sierra Madre.

Last summer I was approached by a press representative to sample Sierra Madre.  I hadn’t heard of the brand, but with 4000+ wineries in the United States, that’s not unexpected.  When I was told they whey only make chardonnay and pinot noir, I was a little apprehensive.  I’ll admit, I was scared.  Two of the most difficult and challenging grapes.  It’s not such a well-kept secret that I’m not a great fan of chardonnay.  I shudder internally when I’m offered chardonnay.  When it’s great, it’s fantastic; but most chards are substandard over-oaked messes.  And pinot noir?  What a total diva.

That said, I’m glad I faced my fears.  Both of the wines are transcendent and defy description.  A celebration of vinous greatness.

The color is a golden citrine.  A beautiful nose with floral notes.  Creamy, but crisp.  A whisper of tropical fruit, with apple, pear and a hint of vanilla.  Beautifully and fully integrated.  I had the privilege to meet the owners, Doug Circle and his wife Jan, and the winemaker Steve Rasmussen this summer; they think it has notes of cherimoya.  I’m not convinced, but if you make wine as good as this, you can say it tastes like anything you want.  Seriously.

Sierra Madre suggests pairing this magical wine with pan-seared divers’ scallops, poached salmon with lemon and butter or herb-roasted free range chicken.

The details: 14.2% alcohol.  Cork closure.  The grapes are from the old Robert Mondavi vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley in Santa Barbara, California.  The suggested retail is $30 USD, available directly from the Sierra Madre Vineyard website.  At this time they only ship within California.  If you reside in another state, drop them an email, and see what you can work out.  While you’re placing your order for the chardonnay, order some of the pinot noir, which is even better than the chardonnay.  Wine Harlots will talk about the amazing pinot noir (and the wine that almost never was) in our column on January 25th.

The music match is Goldfrapp’s “Number 1” from the album Supernature.  Sierra Madre is number one in the Wine Harlots book. (Or would that be glass?)