Mission Codename La Colina Bonita
This is by far one of the most outrageously delicious and insanely priced Chardonnay deals we’ve landed in some time. If you like ‘em big, ripe, round, and flashy – as those Cakebreads, Rombauers, and Auberts – you should be all over this one.
92+ points and how about that price!? My goodness… from $49 down to $20 for a top-shelf Chard like this? WILD.
I mean, in theory, you could buy something for less at the local Save Mart, but it will drastically underperform. Or you could load up a case of this for a tad over $200, knowing you’re getting $600+ worth of flavor, and rest easy knowing you have a truly kickass option you won’t feel bad about opening on a Tuesday night. Or morning - no judgment zone here.
This small winery is led by Marimar Torres, the matriarch of the family. She’s a true renaissance woman - born in Spain as an heiress to the Torres wine legacy, she speaks six languages, has degrees in enology, and leads the charge making some truly fantastic wines for her eponymous estate.
In fact, the Wine Spectator spotlight titled “Catalonia to California: Marimar Torres cultivates her own wine legacy in Sonoma” raves about this “independent venture by a strong-willed woman who left her native Spain to find her calling,” “Her hard work has translated to three decades of success as a vintner in California. She made her first wine, a Chardonnay, from the 1989 vintage. She recalls taking the wine to her father in 1991, just months before he died. ‘He declared it the best white wine he had ever tasted,’ she says, adding that he told her mother, ‘Marimar must have a winery in California!’ …which was completed in 1992.”
Jamie Goode of Wine Anorak speaks of the style here highly, “By comparison with red and white Burgundy these wines seem quite full-on, but by comparison with the California style, they are elegant and more European. I was very impressed…”
So are we!
Don Miguel Vineyard is one of the coolest, foggiest in the Green Valley of Russian River Valley. That helps keep acidity in check, important because it has a lot of richness and weight to throw around. Being raised in the finest French oak with a medium-plus toast gives it some serious oomph. Factor the 100% malo-fermentation into the equation and you get all that supercharged flavor you want from a top California Chardonnay. We’re talking pears, pineapples, and lemony custard, with a dollop of vanilla and a hint of clove. Buttery brioche too! Tons of life if you could resist and lay it down a few years.
The only downside? Small production gems like this mean a smaller number of cases to go around. With just 7 barrels made to begin with, lay claim to yours before it’s too late.
92+ Points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“The 2016 Chardonnay Don Miguel Vineyard Bonita’s Hill is scented of warm peaches, spiced pears and lemon curd with touches of nutmeg and almond croissant. Medium to full-bodied, it delivers mouth-filling citrus and pear-inspired flavors with a refreshing line and great length. Drink 2018-2025.”
Brilliant faint gold with shades of hay and streaks of platinum
Pears, pineapples, and lemony custard, with a dollop of vanilla and a hint of clove
Being raised in the finest French oak with a medium-plus toast gives it some serious oomph
Buttery brioche rings in the long finale, with tons of life if you can lay it down a few years
Scallops, any way you like them, we lean towards a traditional Coquilles Saint-Jacques
What the Winery Says
2016 Bonita's Hill Russian River Valley Chardonnay
- Marimar Torres
- 100% Chardonnay
- Green Valley of Russian River Valley, Sonoma County
- Don Miguel Vineyard, Bonita’s Hill
- See’s (musqué Old Wente variant)
- Over 2,000 vines/acre
- 11 months
- 25% new French oak
- 7 barrels