The 2010 Poppy Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay is sourced from Estate vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA (near the Monterey Bay) which is located inside the Monterey County AVA. The poppy is the state flower of California. The Poppy Chard is a combination of Chardonnay aged in oak barrels and undergoing malolactic fermentation and unoaked Chardonnay with no malolactic fermentation. Malolactic fermentation is a process where the naturally occurring malic acid (tart tasting) is converted to lactic acid (softer, more rounded tasting). So, you get oaked Chardonnay and “naked” Chardonnay in the same glass. The alcohol content is 13.3%.
The color is pale golden yellow. The nose is melon, apple, apricot, tropical fruit and a light floral scent. This is a Chardonnay with strong, bright flavors. It starts off with honey and tart apples, pear and lemon and a touch of butter with grapefruit. The mid palate adds a squeeze of lime and a little bit of cream. The acidity is balanced, but does show up on the finish to give you a nice jolt as the wine fades away.
The Poppy Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay is a lot of Chardonnay for a wine selling within a buck or two of $10. A nicely complex and decently layered, with tons of flavor, it is priced as an everyday, tuesday night wine, but I think in a blind tasting with more expensive wine, the Poppy Chard will surprise most people.