The 2009 Bonterra Organic Chardonnay is 92% Chardonnay, 4% Muscat and 4% Viognier sourced from several vineyards along side the Russian River in Mendocino, California. Bonterra is under the same ownership group as Fetzer wines, so the majority of the grapes come from Fetzer’s certified organic vineyards (Fetzer started growing organic grapes back in 1984). 70% of the wine was aged in French and American oak barrels (new, used and neutral barrels) for 6 months and the barrel fermented wine underwent malolactic fermentation. The remaining 30% of the wine was aged in stainless steel vats, so you get a mix of the buttery, rounded fruit flavors along with tart, crisp flavors. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is a pale butter yellow. The nose is pineapple, over ripe banana, fresh cream and butterscotch. The mouthfeel is huge and there is a collision of the two competing flavor profiles happening in your mouth. The soft, buttery peach and pear rub up against the clean apple and lemon, the mid-palate is buttered popcorn and salty cashews. Well balanced, with a proper dose of acidity that is partially covered by all the fruit, but does show itself in the fairly lengthy apple and lemon finish.
The Bonterra Organic Mendocino Chardonnay is a bargain priced wine that does not know its a bargain priced wine. It is reasonably complex, a good representation of a California Chardonnay, certified organic and readily available in the shops for around $12. This Chardonnay has some weight behind it so it will stand up to chicken and pork dishes along with the usual white wine fair and drinks very well on its own.