The 2009 Sebastiani Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is 99% Chardonnay and 1% Roussanne sourced from several vineyards with long term grape contracts in Carneros and other Sonoma growing areas. 52% of the wine (mostly from vineyards in the coolest growing areas) was aged in mainly Hungarian oak barrels (Hungarian oak barrels are $300 cheaper than French oak barrels, but impart similar flavors to the wine). The barrel fermentated Chardonnay under went malolactic fermentation (softer, rounder, apple flavors) and the 48% of the wine that was fermented in stainless steel vats did not undergo malolactic fermentation (tart fresh fruit flavor). This is a wine I found selling for under $10, and the winemaker, Mark Lyon, a 30 year veteran, said, to get this Chardonnay at that price point, any winemaking process that was labor intensive and didn’t add to the flavor was jettisoned. This is the wine version of a Hot Rod, anything that didn’t make it taste better was left off. The Wine Enthusiast gave this $10 Chardonnay 91 points. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is golden wheat yellow, almost getting into light beer territory. The nose is apple and pear, faint buttered popcorn, apricot and a hint of vanilla. Tons of fresh fruit upfront, fleshy peach, green apple, pear and pineapple. There is a very attractive buttered toast flavor running underneath all the fruit flavors. The mid-palate adds dried apricots and a late mild hit of spice. The acidity shows itself on the mid-palate and the finish and helps give this Chardonnay a good amount of length.
The 2009 Sebastiani Sonoma County Chardonnay is one tasty wine, if you are one of those that likes their Chardonnay “naked” and really is not crazy about oaked Chards, try this one, this is oak done right. The Sebastiani has flavors and textures in spades, but is well balanced and has the kind of acidity a quality Chardonnay needs. The 2009 Sebastiani Sonoma County Chardonnay is proof that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to drink extremely well.