The Poppy Chardonnay 2013 is sourced from the Poppy estate Highland Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA inside the Monterey AVA, which is part of the larger Central Coast AVA. The Santa Lucia Highlands AVA is located in the foothills east of the coastal Santa Lucia Range and on the western side of the Salinas Valley. There are cooling Pacific Ocean breezes coming up through Monterey Bay giving this area one of the longest growing seasons in California, making it ideal for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The grapes for this Chardonnay are dived into three groups, the first is cold fermented in stainless steel tanks, the second is barrel fermented at a warmer temp, “on lees” (the dead yeast and grape residue are left in the barrel) and it undergoes malolactic fermentation, the third batch is fermented in stainless steel vats with French oak added to the vats and the wine undergoes partial malolactic fermentation. The 3 lots are then blended together with 30% from the stainless tanks only, 40% from the oak barrels and the remainder from the stainless tanks with oak added. So, this Chardonnay is a mix of the three main techniques to produce California Chardonnay. A check of the web saw the Poppy selling for a range of $10 to $15 (I found it for $11.99), which is extremely reasonable for a single vineyard, estate wine from a highly regarded sub-AVA. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is extra virgin olive oil yellow. The nose is apple, lemon and pear along with ripe tropical fruit. This is a smooth, ripe but balanced Chardonnay with solid acidity and good length. It tastes of peach, golden delicious apple, pear, lemon and a touch of grapefruit. The mid-palate brings creamy vanilla, tart dried pineapple bits and a splash of lime. The acidity is nicely balanced, the flavors have plenty of room to unfold and the acidity doesn’t bite. The finish is full and does not go away.
The Poppy Chardonnay 2013 is delicious. It has enough weight and acidity (acidity cleanses the palate) to be a very useful food wine and it has the mouth-feel and flavor to excel as a sipping wine. The Poppy Chardonnay has the pedigree, single vineyard from a fancy AVA, to keep wine snobs happy and it has a has the value price tag and the great flavor to keep the rest of us reaching for another sip.