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Best wineries to visit in Nap Valley and Sonoma for high quality Chardonnays

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We are interested in visiting places that offer tastings of high quality chardonnays that also have interesting surroundings if possible. Our price range is generally $20 to $50 but still would appreciate at least tasting something we would not ordinarily purchase.

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  1. In Sonoma County, the Alexander Valley region grows a lot of fine Chardonnay. Most everything would also be within your price range. It is also an exceptionally beautiful area.

    Also, it's close to the town of Healdsburg which has a lot of options for dining and shopping.

    http://www.alexandervalley.org/map/di...

    1. In Napa, the pinnacle by all Chard lovers I know ('cuz I can't stand the stuff) is Rombauer.

      1. Hard not to mention Chateau Montelena. After all, you could argue their Chardonnay beating the french is what originally put the US on the world stage from a wine perspective. VERY interesting surroundings with Jade lake on the property and the chateau-style buildings.

        1. Most of the best Chards are in Sonoma.

          Martinelli
          Hartford (upper level stuff)
          Landmark (upper level stuff)

          all should work

          1. I have discovered that I really enjoy French and Italian Chardonnay, especially Burgundy Chardonnay. With that in mind, I don’t enjoy most CA Chard, but Keenan in the Spring Mountain District of the Napa Valley is an exception. To me, its balance, light oak and non-malolatic fermentation make the fruit flavors really shine.
            http://www.keenanwinery.com/current-r...

            1. What do you like in a Chardonnay? There are a lot of styles, all "high quality" depending on who you ask.

              2 Replies
              1. re: SteveG

                I like Newton Unfiltered, Rombauer, Sbragia Gamble ranch, Jarvis reserve. Basically big oaked chardonnays are my preference over the more in vogue Burgundian ones more in the French style, High quality to me means these wines for the most part have enough body, aging, and acidity to avoid the sickening sweet chardonnays that cost under $20.

                1. re: pof

                  Ahh, sorry our Chard tastes are opposed and I couldn't tell you much more than that I know Rombauer is popular with people who like big oaky chardonnays.

                  I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a sweet chardonnay under $20 in Napa. Most places that make Chardonnay make a style you would probably like; I have to try hard to find Chardonnays in Napa that suit my preference for higher acidity, less opulently ripe, made without oak.

              2. Chardonnay is a very very mutable grape.. so it would be necessary to know exactly what it is you like. Do you like Acid driven- Minerally styles, buttery or oaky styles..? Fruity and stone fruit?