If you’re a lover of the big, powerful, citrus-kissed, sweet-oak-infused, full-bodied Chardonnays that Rombauer made famous—we’re with you. We get it. They’re delicious and satisfying. Now, combine all that opulence with the mouthwatering acid-cut of exceptional grapes from Santa Lucia Highlands and you’ve got this 2016 Bernardus Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands Rosella’s Vineyard. Winemaker Dean DeKorth, who brings Meursault-like quality and richness to his native Monterey, shows off his skill with this tremendous 2016 effort, which boasts gorgeous depth, citrus, and toasted notes. Sourced from Santa Lucia Highlands’ legendary Rosella’s Vineyard—a “first-rate site” according to Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, It is a bottling we haven’t offered since the 2009 vintage! And until recently, it was only available through the winery’s wine club.
Bernardus winemaker Dean De Korth carries a lot of credibility with Wine Access clients. It’s not just his the pedigree — his stints at Leflaive, Lafon, and Morey in Burgundy — but his performance and track record of producing stellar Burgundy-style wines on the California coast means Wine Access clients know the terrific quality-to-price value from every Bernardus bottle.
The 2016 Bernardus Chardonnay from Rosella’s Vineyard is a case in point. De Korth scores fruit from superstar grower Gary Franscioni’s meticulously-tended Rosella’s Vineyard every vintage, but sometimes there’s not enough to go around. This marks the first time since the 2009 vintage that we have had the privilege of offering a De Korth-crafted, vineyard-designate Chardonnay from this stellar plot.
Rosella’s Vineyard is on the west side of the Salinas River Valley, where the cooling and cleansing breezes blow across the benchlands of the Santa Lucia Mountain Range from Monterey Bay. The vines are blanketed by morning fog which burns off by the late morning.
These conditions, along with the poor, sandy loam soils and Franscioni’s farming protocol combine to create what Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate calls a “first-rate site” of Santa Lucia Highlands: one that supplied with fruit for what De Korth called “rich, well-structured and opulent” Chardonnay.