I am a Chablis fan. Something about the chalky minerality, the incredibly light touch of oak, the focus around creamy custardy flavors just does it for me.
I have a few friends who are much more into the “standard” California-style chardonnay. Butter, oak, lots of it. A color that looks almost like burnt almond or like 14k gold jewelry. Not me. That’s not my style.
This, this is my style.
The 2008 Sebella Chardonnay from Sonoma Valley’s Hanzell Vineyards is a very true-to-Chablis chardonnay. The intention of the winemaker of “following old world Grand Cru Domaine and First Growth Chateau classification philosophies”1 truly shines through, as this wine sidesteps most of the problems I usually have with California chardonnay.
The wine is a light straw-yellow in the glass, though it fades to clarity at the edges. It’s darker than, and without the green tint of, sauvignon blanc, but much lighter than the “classic” California chard look.
On the nose are a touch of grapefruit, apple, lemon pudding or custard, and granite. Wet stone. The minerality is my favorite part of Chablis, so when I noticed it here, unabashed, on the nose, I was quite excited.
And the wine did not let me down.
The 2008 Sebella Chardonnay is medium-bodied, with a long, lingering finish. Chalk and granite minerality play here, especially on the back of the palate and on the finish. In the meantime, grapefruit, lemon zest, lemon custard, and the bite-you-back of Granny Smith apple peel play around on the front and mid-palate.
This is incredibly drinkable. Very classic. True to Burgundy.
In other words, exactly what chardonnay should be.