The Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Santa Barbara Chardonnay 2021 is 100% Chardonnay sourced from sustainably farmed Kendal Jackson Estate vineyards in Santa Barbara County, The Santa Maria County AVA (the northern boundary of the Santa Barbara AVA and Monterey County. To show Santa Barbara on the label 75% of the grapes have to be grown in Santa Barbara, which indicates less than 25% of the grapes come from Monterey County.
K-J says the grapes for the Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Santa Barbara Chardonnay 2021 come from the top 7% of their grapes, which is why it earned the Grand Reserve designation. Costco sells this wine for $13.89, while the Kendel Jackson website shows a price of $25, with the average price on the web of $16 to $19.
Kendall Jackson (started in 1982) knows a thing or two about Chardonnay their Vintners Reserve Chardonnay (around $10) has been the best-selling Chardonnay in America for 30 years. The Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Santa Barbara Chardonnay 2021 was picked and fermented separately in small lots and then blended to taste. This wine was aged in 86% French oak barrels with 29% new barrels and 14% American oak barrels with 1% new barrels.
French oak and American oak are two different species. French oak has a much tighter grain, releasing less oak influence into the wine. American oak has a broader grain that can give more flavor, so care is needed to achieve the right amount. In that regard 29% new French barrels and 1% new American oak barrels make sense. Getting the oak influence just right is essential to producing excellent Chardonnay.
The Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Santa Barbara Chardonnay 2021 underwent malolactic fermentation (changes the natural tart acid to a more rounded tasting acid) and was aged “on-lees”. On lees is where the spent dead yeast is kept with the Chardonnay while aging. The wine can take on a creamy texture if the lees are stirred and the lees here were stirred twice a month. This Chardonnay is rather stiff for Chardonnay 14.7% alcohol.
The Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Santa Barbara Chardonnay 2021 Tasting Notes
The color is sunshine yellow with a touch of gold. The nose is melon, apple, honey, peach, pear, stone fruit, vanilla, and exotic spice, with a floral edge. The Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Santa Barbara Chardonnay 2021 is a fuller-bodied Chardonnay with smooth, supple flavors.
This Chardonnay tastes of apple, lemon, and vanilla with a touch of butterscotch, honey, and spice. The mid-palate offers melon, a little of the salty/nutty on-lees thing, guava, dried pineapple bits, and peaches in light syrup.
The acidity does its job well, it allows the flavors to unfold while getting you ready for the next sip. This is a Chardonnay that would pair well with different dishes, spicey Thai, bold burritos, and even cheeseburgers.
- The Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Santa Barbara Chardonnay 2021 tastes expensive.
- Great care went into the grapes selection and the winemaking and it shows.
- This Chardonnay is oaked, not dripping with oak like some old-school Chardonnay, but oak is a prime flavor along with the fruit and citrus.