Revisiting One of My Favorite California Chardonnay Bottlings

Today’s Story: Whitcraft Winery

Whitcraft is one of my favorite California wineries, and I previously wrote tasting notes for their 2016 Pence Ranch Clone 828 Pinot Noir and 2018 Stolpman Vineyard Grenache.

Whitcraft is a small, family-owned and operated winery in Santa Barbara, CA known for their traditionally made and “unadulterated” Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Established in 1985 by Chris and Kathleen (Barnato) Whitcraft, the winery started as a passion for both the craft of winemaking and the lifestyle. Chris learned from California greats including Joe Heitz, Dick Graff, and Burt Williams while simultaneously hosting a radio show about wine from 1978 to 1989. Chris and Kathleen’s son Drake joined the family winery and took over in 2007, maintaining the traditional practices of hand-harvesting, foot-pressing, no added enzymes, and native yeast fermentation. Whitcraft’s wines are pure, well-balanced, and honest representations of the fruit and terroir, often remaining low in alcohol and not seeing much added SO2. Drake hand fills and corks his wines, with production incredibly limited and often reserved for mailing list clients or restaurants. Though Chris passed away in 2014, his vision and passion live on through Drake to this day.

Today’s Wine: 2016 Presqu’ile Vineyard Chardonnay

100% Chardonnay; 12.27% ABV

The 2016 Presqu’ile Vineyard Chardonnay is transparent medium to deep gold in color. This wine certainly blossoms with time in the glass, with the nose opening to showcase aromas of ripe golden pear, lemon curd, stone fruit, white lily, dried vanilla, flint, and crushed rock minerality. Once on the palate, I get notes of green apple skins, lime zest, tropical citrus, honeysuckle, limestone, and saline mineral. This Chardonnay is medium-bodied with gorgeous and vibrant medium (+) acidity, a plush and somewhat oily mouthfeel, and a long, refreshing finish.

Price: $45. As with the majority of Whitcraft I drink, I find this wine to be a great value. The restrained beauty here coupled with the purity of fruit and palpable respect for terroir is profound, coming across in a very Burgundian style. Definitely snag one or two bottles if you come across it.

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