Reata 2010 Carneros Chardonnay

Carñeros AVA, CA; 14.3% ABV
$6 at the Berkeley, CA, store on 30 Sept

Reata_2010_ChardonnayAfter Lim13 and I liked the California-designated Whiplash Chardonnays (2010, 2011) from Reata, I jumped on this bottle with a Carñeros designation.  Carñeros is at the southern end of Sonoma Valley (but see comments) and gets cooler air off the bay during the day, generally producing (what I regard as) more balanced Chardonnays than in hotter areas like the Napa Valley floor.

Indeed, at least on the first night, this wine does not show the heavy ripeness of warmer-area Chardonnay.  Instead, it gives flavors of medium-ripe yellow apple and lemon, something I might call white fruit (not sure of a specific example) and flowers, and a lighter orange fruit that could be cantaloupe or orange-fleshed peach.  It’s well-balanced by ample but not overwhelming acid, and supported by gentle oak.  On the Reata web site, they brag about the tropical fruit flavors in the 2012 bottling of this wine, but this wine seems much less tropical to me than the 2010 Whiplash.  (At least 85% of a wine’s grapes must come from the labeled AVA for it to receive that designation.)  At times, especially early on, the wine tasted slightly oxidized, but it went away with a little air, and shouldn’t be a problem if drunk soon.

I had thought it might improve the second day, but I was surprised how much better I liked it.  The wine was far more integrated, full-bodied, and “tropical,” with nicely ripe pineapple coming to the fore.  There was also less noticeable lemon and “white fruit and flowers”.  The orange fruit was also more hidden in the background, but all the complexity was still there if you dug for it.  Definite Thumbs Up IMO.


4 thoughts on “Reata 2010 Carneros Chardonnay

  1. Seedboy

    The first night I opened this wine I thought it suffered in comparison with the Hill chards, which seemed more crisp and to me better balanced. I returned to this wine maybe three days later and found that I really like it, good acidity, not sweet, no overt oak. My wife liked it more than I did so you can imagine I need to buy a few of them.

  2. Seedboy

    Carneros is the part of both counties that has San Pablo Bay influence. I hope that there will be no dispute about that, as there has been dispute about other stuff about Carneros.

  3. lim13

    I’m curious, BW…your first paragraph references Carneros as being “at the southern end of Sonoma Valley”, but the website puts the winery in the southern end of the Napa Valley. And I know that the Carneros region straddles both counties. Are the grapes from the Sonoma parcel? BTW…the wine sounds very tasty (even to a non-Chardonnay lover), but have yet to see it up here.

    1. BargainWhine Post author

      Hi Lim13. Oops. I believe I had that impression because I usually went through Carñeros on the way to Sonoma wineries, but not on the way to Napa wineries. You’re right that the winery web site claims they’re the southernmost winery in Napa Valley, and doesn’t give any info on their vineyards (that I could see right off), so I will be glad to believe them. In whichever valley they are, they do also mention the breezes from San Pablo bay.


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