The 2010 90+ Cellars Lot 61 Chardonnay is sourced from 6 small vineyards in Monterey County inside California’s Central Coast AVA. Monterey County is just north of Paso Robles and runs for 100 miles up the coast, about half of the grapes grown there are Chardonnay. 90+ Cellars are negociants, they buy excess capacity (in this case 1,800 cases) wine from different wineries around the world and the then sell it under their own label. The twist that makes them unique is that they only purchase wines that have received 90+ points from one of the leading wine magazines in the past few years. This is one of 90+ Cellars older releases, current vintage is 2012. To make this process work, the original winery is kept secret, since the 90+ Cellars wine is sold at a much lower price than the original. The alcohol content is 14.5%.
The color is a very pale daisy yellow. The nose is slightly muted, a little spice, some melon, a touch of orange, apple and pear. This is a Chardonnay that on first sip seems a little simple and one dimensional, but the second sip unveils a host of subtle and interesting flavors. No one flavor stands out and spice is as integral a component as citrus and fruit (mainly peach and pear). The mouth feel is slightly creamy and the finish is spicy pear that are probably more vibrant and bolder than the body of the wine.
The 90+ Cellars Lot 61 Monterey County Chardonnay is not your typical value priced California Chardonnay. The understated citrus and fruit, coupled with the layers of spice give the Lot 61 an ethereal sensation not normally associated with inexpensive Chardonnay (well, I guess it wasn’t all that inexpensive to start with, this is what makes negociant wine so interesting). This Chardonnay’s strengths are in its subtlety, so I would not recommend it with dinner, a plate of French or Spanish cheeses would be better suited.