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93pt 2014 Mer Soleil RESERVE Chardonnay, Santa Barbara

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Not content with absolutely dominating the Central Coast with their impressive Santa Lucia Chardonnays, the Wagner family have targeted a sun-soaked Santa Barbara site that could emerge as one of California's Grand Crus for Chardonnay.  The heaven-sent 2014 vintage is their second bottling from this vineyard and this Reserve Chardonnay competes with the likes of Kistler, Lewis, Beringer, Ridge, Mount name it! Those that picked up the inaugural 2012 know what's in store.

About the wine

Few wines can activate all the pleasure centers like a California Chardonnay.  Creamy fruits, toasty spice, plenty of weight for a white wine, and of course, a long, long finish.  Mer Soleil so perfectly encapsulates California's unfair advantage:  they have the sea (Mer) and the sun (Soleil) in just the right proportions.  At their choice Santa Barbara site, the Wagners let sun-ripened Chardonnay push the limits of flavor, knowing that the tempering influence of the Pacific will keep everything in check.  You can't make a Chardonnay like this anywhere else.  If you love the taste of summer fruits, there's a basket full of peaches, pears, pineapples and melon that are flecked with vanilla bean, clove and cinnamon.  It's a decadent recipe, and one that the Wagners are masters at preparing.  Year-in-and-out, the Mer Soleil bottling is one of California's most delectable and the Santa Barbara Reserve is taking it even further.  

WinemakerCharlie Wagner II
AppellationSanta Barbara County
- 93 pts, Brian Whitaker, Sommelier, Blackhawk Grill
- 4.1/5.0 : Vivino Users (963 Reviews)
Grapes: A single vineyard located near the famous Clark & Telephone vineyard (Belle Glos Pinot Noir)
Cooperage: Aged in 100% older French Oak, barrel fermented  
ABV: 14.5%

About the winery

The Wagners are up there along with the Mondavis as America's most celebrated winemaking families.  From Caymus Special Selection to Belle Glos and Mer Soleil, Wagners keep it all in the family.  Chuck Wagner first planted Chardonnay in the Monterey area in 1988, suspecting there was great promise for the grape there.  Over the years, he and his son Charlie fine-tuned the plantings and the rest is history.  20 years in, their Mer Soleil label is synonymous with a plush, uncompromising idea of Chardonnay heaven.  As they search out other areas with promise, they've found a Chardonnay site in Santa Barbara that was destined to take its place as the crown jewel in the Mer Soleil line.  All the painstaking attention in the vineyard and the cellar is carried through on the Santa Barbara Reserve, which pays respect to the style of Chardonnay that made the state famous:  low yields, barrel-fermentation and lees-stirring.  The result is a bodacious white with the all the flavor and substance of a great red, but still refreshing.  

About the winemaker, Charlie Wagner II

The Wagners are a California Winemaking Dynasty.From Charlie to Chuck to Charlie II, Joe and Jenny, the Wagners each run top-flight operations. As the eighth generation of Wagner to make wine, Charlie II knew early on that he was going to participate in the family business.  He started making wines with his father Chuck at Napa's Caymus winery, learning the family business from the ground up.  Realizing that Chuck's Mer Soleil project needed a true Chardonnay fanatic at the helm, Charlie stepped in and has taken the winery to greater heights with his focus.   In addition to expanding the Santa Lucia winery, Charlie has also added a famous unoaked Chardonnay called “Silver” that enjoys the same acclaim as the flagship wine.  This is the inaugural vintage of his push south into Santa Barbara to create an even more expressive bottle of Chardonnay.  In 20 years, Charlie Wagner II has become one of America's most trusted Chardonnay craftsman, earning 90+ points in every vintage.

About the vineyard

Situated near to the Clark & Telephone vineyard in Santa Maria Valley, this site takes advantage of Santa Barbara's proximity to the Pacific.  Cool mornings and nights are punctuated by warm midday peaks which allows special plots like this to slowly put on weight like a happy baby.  Whenever the sun runs ripening too fast, the fog cools its jets and the balance is maintained.  It's no surprise then, that this part of the state is densely populated with top-shelf wineries in search of perfect fruit.  Sea Smoke, Foxen, Brewer-Clifton and other perennial top performers have gravitated to this zone's special combination of sandy soil and balanced climate.

93 pts - Brian Whitaker, Sommelier, Blackhawk Grill (2013 Vint.)

"Green apple, banana, pineapple, guava, and other coastal tropical flavors lead the way in this overly creamy, rich, and decadent, mouth-coasting reserve Chardonnay. Another hands-down winner from the Wagner's. Recommended Pairing: Blackened Salmon with Wild Rice"



Other Details

Alcohol percentage:
Caymus' Charlie Wagner's Outstanding Santa Barbara Reserve
Mer Soleil 14 RSV Chard fr Santa Barbara
93pt Wagner 14' RSV Chardonnay
WS "Offers a generous mix of tropical fruit, with guava, pineapple and mango flavors accented by melon, spice and floral notes. Well- focused and shaded by light toasty oak, this gains depth and nuance on the creamy finish."
At their choice Santa Barbara site, the Wagners let sun-ripened Chardonnay push the limits of flavor.
Rsv fr Caymus Family!
Bold Style Chard comp to Kistler
Winemaker of 2 Wines of the Year
2017-4-27 23:59:00 -08:00:00
#review=Brian Whitaker, Somm/GM:
93 / 100
#stars_review=Vivino Users, (4.1):
Free shipping on 6 bottles or more - mix and match all wines
Caymus Mer Soleil 2014 Chard RSV: Last Hours

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