The 2011 Donati Family Vineyards Sorelle per Sempre (Latin for Forever Sisters) Chardonnay is an unoaked blend of 79% Chardonnay and 21% Pinot Blanc, a White grape mutation of the Pinot Noir grape. The grapes are sourced from the Paicines AVA located south of San Jose and east of Monterey inside the Central Coast AVA. The Paicines AVA has cooler temperatures during the growing season than most of California’s Central Coast AVA, the cooler temperatures allow the grapes to ripen slowly and to fully develop. This Chardonnay sees no oak aging and was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks. The Donati Family Vineyard has been in business since 1998 and the head winemaker is Denise Valoff. This is a relatively small production Chardonnay with 5652 cases produced and the alcohol content is 13.7%.
The color is pale golden yellow. The nose is bright crisp and clean, stone fruit and lemons. It tastes of lemon creme, tart grapefruit with a touch of apricot. The mid palate adds a brush of minerality along with smooth melon. This is a well balanced Chardonnay, some unoaked Chardonnays can overdo the tart, sour citrus side of things, I think the Pinot Blanc helps in that regard. There is a long full finish.
The Donati Family Vineyards Sorelle per Sempre Chardonnay is a small production, boutique wine with “terrior,” a wine that shows the essence of a particular growing area, selling for under $20. Often the difference between value priced wine and more expensive wines is that under $20 wines are produced in larger quantities and source their grapes from a wider area. The wines can be very good, but they don’t have “terrior” and the grapes being grown in a small distinct location is what causes “terrior” wines to be more expensive. The Sorelle per Sempre Chardonnay gives you value and “terrior”.