While I am not a huge fan of California chardonnay in general, there are notable exceptions. Patz & Hall is one of them, especially this one. The sprawling Sonoma Coast AVA encompasses too much geography to consistently produce a hallmark style but diligent producers like Patz & Hall showcase the region properly.
Intense, ripe, tropical citrus fruit springs forward like many other California chards but the Sonoma Coast maintains a fresh, creamy, lemony acidity that keeps the wine lively and lip-smacking. My palate craves more of the rich wine rather than becoming tired or bored like it does with so many other California chardonnays.
I had the luxury of being able to enjoy a glass of the 2009 and 2010 versions of Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast yesterday. The 2010 was bigger, fuller and more exotic while the 2009 showed a leaner, racier style. The winery and AVA styles expressed themselves clearly yet the wines showed much more variety than I would have guessed.
This was a good reminder of maintaining an open mind and willing palate. It was also a good sign from California that vintages do matter and perhaps even jaded wine geeks should pay closer attention.