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Talley Oliver's Vineyard Chardonnay 2014
The Talley family winemaking approach starts with a laser-like attention to detail across the estate's six vineyards in coastal San Luis Obispo County. In the winery, things are much more hands-off. With their Chardonnays, the mission is to allow the grapes of each vineyard to express themselves without being slathered in the layers of buttery oak favoured by many traditional Cali producers.
Here's a textbook example from the Oliver's Vineyard (named after the founding Talley). The fruit purity is to the fore both on the nose and palate, but it delivers astonishing complexity. Because the vineyard is only four miles from the ocean, there's a perky, zesty mineral streak to go with the ripe orchard fruit and fleshy texture. The oak influence is definitely there - some of the wine spent time in new French barrels - but it never overwhelms.
The wine world can't stop talking about 'tense' wines at the moment. If you want to know what they mean by that, this wine is a great place to start.
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