AG Pick Under $20: 2009 Carmel Road Monterey Chardonnay

Do you like your California Chardonnay to have a touch of oak but too often feel like you’re sucking on a piece of the barrel?  Then you’ll want to pick up a bottle of the 2009 Carmel Road Monterey Chardonnay.  This white gets oak just right, using it to enhance and not overwhelm the flavors from the grapes.

Carmel Road Winery is located in Monterey County in California’s Central Coast.  Their Chardonnay is made entirely from that variety, with grapes from three vineyards in the Salinas Valley.  The final wine is a blend of Chardonnay aged for seven months in French oak, American oak or stainless steel.

Golden yellow in color, the Chardonnay has bright aromas of tropical fruit.  These tropical notes expand on the palate, with flavors of pineapple, guava, golden apple, baked pear and a gentle touch of vanilla.  A slight creaminess is balanced out with good acidity, while mineral notes add additional layers and structure.  The finish is crisp with lingering lemon zest.

This is a versatile Chardonnay and can pair well with a variety of foods.  Try a glass with soft cheese, salads, chicken, fish or light pasta dishes.

The 2009 Carmel Road Monterey Chardonnay costs $18 a bottle.

13.5% alcohol by volume