The Coppola Diamond Collection Pavilion Chardonnay 2016 is a limited edition wine sourced from vineyards in 60% Santa Barbara and 40% Sonoma, the regular Diamond Collection Chardonnay is sourced from Monterey. In a side note, this Chard could have shown California on the front label, since Santa Barbara is part of the Central Coast AVA and Sonoma is located in the North Coast AVA. You see California shown as place of origin when grapes from both the Central Coast and the North Coast (and sometimes the Central Valley) are used for that particular bottling, but since Santa Barbara and Sonoma are both premium Chardonnay regions they preferred to show off a little. Santa Barbara is only a 100 miles or so north of Los Angeles, but the area where the vineyards are juts out into the Pacific Ocean so it has cold water on 2 sides. When Los Angeles and the surrounding region are simmering in the heat of the summer, Santa Barbara is cool enough to grow high quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Pavilion Chardonnay was fermented in oak barrels and aged in French oak for 9 months, so this Chard sees more oak conditioning than the typical Chardonnay in this price range, though Coppola does not specify how much of the French oak barrels are new or used. This is a wine that I found for $11.99, it lists for a few dollars more, but use of all French oak barrels in the fermentation and the aging process is a detail that is usually reserved for far more expensive wine. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is a golden wheat yellow, you can tell this Chardonnay has seen some oak. The nose is delicate and reserved, apple, pear, lemon, dried pineapple bits, a little melon, and a good whiff of vanilla. This is a well-balanced Chardonnay with solid acidity, Coppola’s tasting notes say this is a combination of New World and Old World styles and I agree, this California mixed with some France. It tastes of green apple, sleek and creamy vanilla, Meyer lemon, and a little pear. The mid-palate adds some salty cashew (that usually indicates the wine was aged “on lees”, meaning they kept the spent, dead yeast in the barrels with the Chardonnay), pink lemonade, a dash of tropical fruit. The acidity is in the pocket, enough to give the wine the length to let the flavors unfold, but not enough to bite. The finish is delicate and slowly fades.
The Coppola Diamond Collection Pavilion Chardonnay 2016 is a really solid Chardonnay, it tastes more expensive than it actually is, this is no bright and fun fruit bomb. It has just the level of acidity that really appeals to me (along with that creamy vanilla), it’s got my mouth-watering and has me reaching for another sip. Chardonnay is the winemakers wine, each producer makes it differently from the next one, sometimes just a little different and sometimes a whole lot. I tend to like most of the Chardonnay I come across, but I seldom love a Chardonnay, I don’t know if a love the Coppola Pavilion Chardonnay, but I sure do like it.