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90+ point rated wines under $20

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2006 Coquelicot Winery Estate Chardonnay**
Coquelicot06SSChard.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Santa Barbara, CA $22 @ the Winery 4/9/10
A pale, lemon-yellow colored wine with an aromatic nose of tropical fruit, ripe apple and pear with hints of lemon and lime. The palate is medium-bodied and creamy with well-balanced acidity, showing the same fruit flavors found on the nose along with notes of mango and honey as the wine warmed. While not overly complex, this wine was delightful and delivered lively fruit flavors from start to finish. This wine was fermented and aged in stainless steel and did not undergo malolactic fermentation, allowing the fruit to speak for itself. Very good QPR (especially since it's now selling for $14) and a wine that still has at least a year or two left in the bottle. Am not generally a chard fan, but I wish I had more. (14.5% abv)

2006 Eric Kent Wine Cellars Russian River Chardonnay**
erickentRRChard.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Sonoma, CA $34 Mission Wines 4/19/08
A pale lemon colored wine with bright, tropical and green fruit aromas including banana, apple and pear with notes of vanilla and hazelnut. The palate is nicely balanced with moderate acidity and a creamy texture. The flavors from the nose follow through in the taste with addional hints of butter and pineapple on the medium length finish. Elegant and crisp, but nothing that knocked my socks off. A good example of cool climate Chardonnay and one those tired of over-oaked, butter bombs will enjoy.

2006 Lafond Winery Chardonnay, Wente Clone in Stainless Steel**
lafond-chardonnay-05.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Santa Barbara, CA $38 @ the Winery 11/24/07
I usually like chards without oak, but this one though crisp and lively, didn't have enough fruit to compensate for the acidity. Mostly citrus and green fruit flavors on the nose and palate. A stronger finish would have made for a more memorable wine.

2006 Lincourt Vineyards Chardonnay**
lincourt.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Santa Barbara, CA $18 @ the Winery 11/24/07
A full-bodied wine with tropical fruits, lemon and toast on the nose follows through on the palate with a rich mouthfeel that has enough acid to keep it interesting. Nothing memorable, but a truly enjoyable wine for the price.

2006 Morgan Winery Highlands Chardonnay**
morganmetallico.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Santa Cruz, CA $26 @ the Wine House 3/3/08
A pale, intense lemon colored wine with bright aromatics of citrus and pear with hints of butter and minerals. The palate is medium-bodied with big tropical fruits flavors and well-integrated notes of bread and butter. The finish is crisp with a touch of minerality. A nice example, in a cool-climate style, that shows a different, classier side to the usually over-oaked California chardonnays.


2006 Morgan Winery Metallico Chardonnay**
morganmetallico.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Monterey, CA $20 @ the Wine House 3/3/08
This stainless-steel version of Monterey chardonnay is a pale, lemon color with youthful aromas of lemon, green apple, minerals, spice and honey. The palate is lively with medium acidity with the same flavors that appear on the nose and a good, balanced finish. Since it did not go through malolactic fermentation, the wine shows a nice purity of fruit often hidden by that process.


2006 Stags Leap Winery Chardonnay**
stagsleapchard06.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Napa Valley, CA $23 Gift 5/30/08
This pale, lemon-colored wine has bright aromas of stone and tropical fruits with notes of blossoms and sweet spice. The palate presents flavors of lemon, pineapple and green apple with a creamy mouthfeel from aging on the lees. Lush without the usual CA butter, since the wine did not go through malolactic fermentation. Nice adidity and a hint of minerality on the refreshing finish. Not overly complex, but a pleasant, well-balanced, cool climate Chard that delivers for the price.


2006 Wild Horse Chardonnay**
wildhorsechard.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Paso Robles, CA $16 @ the Wine House 7/19/08
A bright gold-colored wine with an aromatic nose filled with green fruit, citrus and notes of oak. The palate is medium-bodied and creamy with the right amount of acidity to keep it refreshing and has flavors of green apple, pear and lemon that is complemented by notes of vanilla, caramel and toasted oak on the medium finish. Not a wine that will knock your socks off, but a solid, well-crafted chardonnay that bridges the gap between bracing and buttery quite well.

2006 Wishing Tree Unoaked Chardonnay*
wishingtree06chard.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
South Eastern Australia $12 BevMo 8/20/07
A light-bodied wine (for Chardonnay) with a bright nose of citrus and stone fruits. The palate is crisp with notes of lemon and a minerality that contributes to the lively mouthfeel. Not as ripe as I expected from Australia and a bit too austere for me.

2005 Alma Rosa Winery Chardonnay, El Jabali Vineyard***
almarosachard.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Santa Barbara, CA $30 @ the Winery 11/24/07
A vibrant, medium-bodied wine that's packed with flavor, yet elegant and crisp. Full of tropical and stone fruit flavors this is a wine that doesn't need butter to be yummy. Shows the expression of the vineyard and how good Chardonnay can taste without a ton of oak influence.

OTHER RATINGS: Robert Parker: 90

2005 Concha Y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay***
Region Price Purchased Drank
Pirque, Chile $19 Wine.com 9/1/07
Shows a nice mix of dried pineapple, papaya, pear and fig flavors, with a long, minerally finish. Has a nice layer of buttered toast, but stays fresh and pure. Medium-bodied and rich with enough acidity to balance the various flavors.

OTHER RATINGS: Robert Parker: 92 | Wine Spectator: 91

2005 Domaine de la Croix Senaillet St. Véran**
Croixsenailletstveran.jpg Region Price Purchased Drank
Burgundy, France $15 K&L Wines 7/15/08
A pale, lemon-colored wine, with bright aromas of floral, green fruit and citrus with a hint of minerals which follow through on the palate with good intensity, moderate acidity, low alcohol and a creamy mouthfeel due to malolactic fermantation. The flavors of mineral, lemon, ripe apple and hints of honey on the finish. For those looking for a round Chard without all the oakiness of New World versions, you'll like this nicely priced version.

2005 Lafond Winery Chardonnay, Lafond Vineyard***
lafond-chardonnay-05.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Santa Barbara, CA $40 @ the Winery 11/24/07
The nose was complex with ripe green fruits and just a hint of butter. The palate was rich and full with great balance between the subtle tropical flavors and the notes of oak, butter and vanilla. A Chardonnay with real class and flavor that's worth the price.

2005 Lafond Winery Chardonnay, Santa Rita Hills**
lafond-chardonnay-05.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Santa Barbara, CA $22 @ the Winery 11/24/07
The clear aromatics of citrus and butter follow through on the medium-bodied palate, integrating in a way that complimented both flavors. The citrus makes the wine crisp and refreshing, the buttery note rounds out the flavor and gives the wine a nice finish. A lovely example of what California Chard is all about without being too over-the-top. Not as complex as their single vineyard Lafond, but a solid wine for the price.

2005 Pezzi King Russian River Valley Chardonnay**
pezzi05chard.jpg Region Price Tasted Drank
Sonoma, CA $26 Private Event 10/28/08
A lemon-colored, aromatic wine with a bouquet of lemon blossom, tropical fruits and vanilla with notes of oak and nuts. The palate is full-bodied, but with good acidity to keep the wine bright, exhibiting honey, tropical fruit, butter and vanilla flavors along with hints of hazelnuts and oak on the finish. Not as fruit-forward as I generally like my white wines, but it was well-integrated and food friendly. Not a wine to be drunk on it's own as the oak components are the main flavors.

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**** Outstanding | *** Delicious | ** Enjoyable | * Drinkable
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