The Layer Cake Central Coast Chardonnay 2012 is sourced from vineyards in Monterey (south of San Francisco) and Santa Barbara (just north of Los Angeles) in California. Even though northern California is cooler than southern California, both regions have similar climates due to the influence of the Pacific Ocean, cool breezes and morning fog. Layer Cake produces wine in 5 different countries, Shiraz from Australia, Malbec from Argentina, Primitivo (Zinfandel’s Italian twin) from Italy, Garnacha from Spain and this Chardonnay is part of their California series. They have long-term contracts with selected local growers and lease space in local wineries. They don’t own the vineyards or the winery, which lessens their production costs, allowing them to offer a high quality wine at a value price. The Layer Cake Chardonnay should be found in the $10-$12 range. This Chardonnay is fermented in stainless steel vats, most of the wine is aged in stainless steel, but a portion is aged in 3 year old French oak barrels. Oak barrels release less of their influence into the wine with each use, by the 3rd use the wine is receiving a fraction of the oak that a new barrel gives. This allows the Chardonnay some structure and flavor, but not too much. The alcohol content is a stout 14.1%.
The color is fairly dark, almost a lite beer yellow. The nose is crisp and clean, citrus with a floral edge. This is a dry Chardonnay with a medium body. It tastes of citrus, lemon/lime, melon and tart apple. The mid palate adds pineapple, a touch of minerality and kiwi. The acidity is well-balanced, this Chardonnay will work well with food and function nicely while sipped on the back porch. The finish is lengthy, crisp and clean.
The Layer Cake Central Coast Chardonnay is a solid and versatile Chard. If you are one of the growing crowd, who are not all that crazy about oak in their Chardonnay, the Layer Cake might be what you’re looking for. Chardonnay is the wine makers wine, every winery makes their Chardonnay a little bit (sometimes a lot) different from the next guy. There are many variables that can go into Chardonnay production, so wineries next door to each other can produce remarkable different wines. So, when it comes to Chardonnay don’t think that you have had it all before. And that, for me, is the allure of Chardonnay.