Sonoma Hills 2012 Chardonnay

Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, CA; 14.5% ABV
$7 at the Berkeley, CA, store on 28 May; also at Richmond

SonomaHills_2012_Chardonnay_RRVThis wine came into the Richmond store a few days ago, but I picked it up from the Berkeley store on my day off to have a white wine to go with a ripe Camembert from the GO.  I walked around and around the Berkeley wine section trying to find an interesting white wine, and was about to go with a Grenache or two instead when they brought out a pallet that had a couple layers of this wine.  (They do still have the excellent Bixby Creek Bridge Chardonnay — ripe, buttery, oaky — but I’ve had a bottle of that already.  And was there really zero Pinot Noir?)  Anyway, this wine needed some air, but was then very good.

At first, I found this wine sort of musty / bitter, but after about 45 – 60 minutes open (kept with the cork in, in the fridge), the wine opened nicely to show restrained (but neither weak nor austere), elegant fruit fruit of yellow apple, white pear, tang of some green fruit (apple / lime?), with supporting oak and a slightly chalky minerality.  It presents the RRV Chardonnay character very well, and is an interesting contrast to the aforementioned Bixby Creek Bridge from Napa.  It’s sort of an “upgraded” Nilsson, which is itself very good for $4.


7 thoughts on “Sonoma Hills 2012 Chardonnay

  1. Iain Riule

    Can’t agree with you on this one! Straight down the drain due to weird sour/estery taste…

    Did you review the Bixby? I was in the store trying to choose between them and the Sonoma Hills label looked better. (What is it they say about books and covers?!). Next time I will try the Bixby Creek one!

    1. seedboy

      Iain, you can return wine to GO if you don’t like it. I hear that the Bixby is popular but I’ve not tried it, or the Sonoma Hills. I like the Field Notes quite a bit for its Chablis-like flavors, and I promise not to say one more word about the Paripaso (other than that Richmond still has this for $1.99 a bottle).

      1. Iain Riule

        Darrell, you have a point – it might have been acceptable for cooking. Perhaps I was too hasty!

        Seedboy, thank you for the tip about returning and for the two recommendations… I will check them out!

      2. BargainWhine Post author

        Thanks for your caution. 🙂 I also have been reluctant to mention that, at least at the Richmond store, the Paripaso Chardonnay is currently vintage 2012, whereas the vintage that first arrived (and was praised as a great deal) was the 2011. I’ve heard the 2012 is not as good.


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