Chardonnay •Redding Ranch
California: Monterey County
What We Say
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes even better than that, as is the case with today’s wine from Cru Wines.
SHORT QUANTITY ALERT!: Today’s wine is scarce and we got our hands on the last few cases! If we run out today, we’ll put another wine on sale immediately, so please be sure to check back in throughout the day.
SAVINGS ALERT!: If you are lucky enough to grab 6 or more bottles of this great wine before we sell out, use coupon code SPYNOW and we’ll give you Free Ground Shipping
Mission Codename: Runaway Chardonnay
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Seek Out a Monterey County Chardonnay
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Cru Wines
Wine Subject: 2006 Redding Ranch Chardonnay
Winemaker: Michael Levin
Widely considered the greatest of all the dry non-aromatic white grape varietals, Chardonnay is widely grown throughout the globe. Chardonnay is perhaps most famous as a primary grape of the sparkling classics from Champagne as well as white Burgundies, Chardonnay is far and wide one of the most popular white varietals in California with over 100,000 acres planted representing nearly half of all the white grapes grown.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Golden straw-yellow in color with pale edges, excellent clarity and a slightly viscous texture when swirled revealing long thin legs.
Smell – This wine exhibits a balanced nose of oak, tart pineapple and citrus and creamy yeast. As this wine opens up, components of honey and toasted nuts also emerges.
Feel – Smooth, creamy and viscous showing its malolactic fermentation along with a distinct glycerin feel.
Taste – This wine exhibits layers of green and tropical fruit, very mild oak components and a hint of spice at the back of the palate. Very subtle nutty and buttery flavor components also emerge as the wine opens up.
Finish – This Chardonnay finishes clean and smooth with a buttery flavors and hints of citrus and other tart fruits.
Conclusion – Cru Wine’s Chardonnay is a very pleasant wine to drink and is not your typical overly oaky or butter-ball Chardonnay. Well balanced bouquet, a lovely mouth feel, layers of fruit, oak and spice with a clean smooth finish.
It was a beautiful day and I was enjoying my morning espresso. I was sitting in an open air cafe, nestled among
apple trees, and I was just waking up. Suddenly, a loud voice shakes me further awake.
“S’up, yo?! What brings the Secret Agent Man to the S.L.H?!”
I didn’t need to turn around to know who it was. One of my newest assets, Codename: “Dawg”, had proven to be very useful at obtaining information for me, but he wasn’t the most subtle informant in the world.
Patiently and as quietly as possible, I said to him, “Good morning, Dawg. Lower your voice and sit.”
The joke was lost on him, but, obediently, he sat.
“Yo, Red, check it. Me and my crew, we just found you a killer new release, yo. Its a Pinot, direct from the S.L.H.. I know how much you dig those, yo. And check this, the name of the winery is CRU. That name is off the hook, yo.”
Usually my patience with Dawg is bolstered by the knowledge that he delivers great intel. Today, I was not in the mood.
“Listen, Dawg…. Duane. You are 42 years old. You are a chemical engineer. You have 2 PhDs, 3 kids, a loving wife and your crew consists of your wine buddies from work. For goodness sake, you drive a minivan, Duane. How about we lay off the schtick for today.”
Visibly dejected, Dawg took off his hip hop sunglasses, removed his faux-diamond encrusted grill and slumped into his chair.
“Awww, geez, red… Why do you have to ruin my cover like that?”
Calmly, I replied, “Sorry, Dawg. Its been a rough week. What do you have for me, something great?”
He perked up.
“Yeah, Red. Listen, I have a friend that works at CRU winery. I trust the guy implicitly and, heck, I am a member of the CRU wine club so I know they make great wine. Anyhow, I managed to get my hands on their newest vintage. You can’t even find this stuff for sale yet. He’s letting us drop the wine on the world early. Heck, we might even be the first to have it.”
Dawg then fell back into his character soon after, but at least he told me which dead-drop to find the wine samples at. I thanked him, tried to do some crazy handshake with him, bade him farewell and rushed to retrieve the wine.
Once back in my safehouse, I let the wine settle for a few days before opening it.
Monterey County, continues to impress and amaze me. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from this region are fantastic and today’s Chard from CRU illustrates this point in perfect detail. Its simply delicious.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Cru Wines (Mariposa Wine Company) tasting room can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
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About This Wine:
The Redding Ranch supplies another winery with the grapes used in their Reserve bottling, and we are the only other buyer of Redding fruit. All of the grapes were crushed and barrel fermented, and 40% of the barrels were new, extra-fine grain Hungarian wood. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation in the barrels. The Redding Chardonnay has forward aromas of tropical fruit, with a distinct pineapple note highlighted by toasty oak and a creamy lees character.
The Vineyard and Vintage:
The Redding Ranch supplies another winery with the grapes used in their Reserve bottling, and we are the only other buyer of Redding fruit. All of the grapes were crushed and barrel fermented, and 40% of the barrels were new, extra-fine grain Hungarian wood. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation in the barrels. The Redding Chardonnay has forward aromas of tropical fruit, with a distinct pineapple note highlighted by toasty oak and a creamy lees character
About The Winery:
Cru, a French term identifies prestigious vineyards and the wines made from them, embodying the classification of select vineyard sites and their unique indigenous style. After nearly 20 years crafting premium artisan style Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Winemaker Michael Leven understands the intricacies involved in attaining this rare level of elevated distinction. Michael knows where the best vineyards are located, which blocks produce the most optimal fruit and has relationships with the farmers that tend them. Focusing on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir exclusively CRU represents a marriage of site typicity and winemaking skill that elevates our wine to a level of Artistry not commonly found.
Focusing on Monterey County and other premium cool climate appellations, Michael is particularly fond of the superior quality fruit found in California’s coastal regions. Perfect for growing premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the temperate marine influenced climate of the upper Salinas Valley provides ideal conditions for these cool-weather varieties, and is the backbone of the CRU portfolio.