Bernardus Rosella’s Chardonnay SLH 2021

We just received our Spring 2023 shipment from our old wine club A Taste of Monterey and we have probably been members for around twenty years, one day I should probably ask. In fact, I called and they returned my message that we joined 10 February 2003, so I guess I guessed right.  We found the club by accident as were wandering around the Cannery Row district of Monterey, because we had a reservation at The Sardine Factory.  We were intrigued, especially since they said that they could ship to Michigan, which at the time was a felony state for personal wine shipments.  It took the famous Granholm v. Heald decision from the Supreme Court to show the error of the governor and is considered a watershed case for Direct to Customer sales of wine.  We joined their Reserve Wine Club, as we figured that it would probably be the only way to get some excellent and limited production wines from Monterey County, and we have been happy ever since.

Bernardus Winery and Vineyards was founded by Ben Marinus Pon about twenty-five years ago with the intention of creating premier wines in the Carmel Valley.  His intent was to produce single vineyard designated wines and a Bordeaux blended wine.  Bernardus has three estate vineyards: Marinus planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec; Featherbow planted with Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon; and Ingrid’s Vineyard planted with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  All fifty-four acres of estate vineyards are in the Carmel Valley AVA.  To compliment the estate vineyards Bernardus also has contracts with vineyards the Arroyo Seco, Santa Lucia Highlands, and others in the Monterey County. I am sorry to say, that Mr. Pon passed away in September of 2019 and his vision will be continued by Robert van der Wallen the current owner, who also understand the passion that Mr. Pon had for his winery.

The first wine out of the carton was Bernardus Winery Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands Rosella’s Vineyard 2021.  Rosella’s Vineyard is located in the heart of the Santa Lucia Highlands and was planted by Gary Franscioni, a fourth-generation farmer and the vineyard is named after his wife Rosella.  The vineyard is famous for their Pinot Noir, but just as impressive is their small block of Dijon clone Chardonnay, which is considered by many to be the finest Chardonnay in the Highlands. This wine is produced in the Burgundian tradition.  The grapes are hand-picked and gently whole-cluster pressed and Initial Fermentation using specially selected yeasts.  It then undergoes complete Malolactic Fermentation and each barrel is hand stirred every two weeks until shortly before blending and bottling for about eight months.  They use only French Oak barrels and one third new.  There were four-hundred-twenty-five-cases produced.  The tasting notes provided are for a golden colored wine that offers notes of ripe white fruits and baking spices.  The palate has tones of ripe peach and tropical fruits with secondary tinges of subtle caramel and a long crisp finish. 

About thewineraconteur

A non-technical wine writer, who enjoys the moment with the wine, as much as the wine. Instagram/thewineraconteur Facebook/ The Wine Raconteur
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