There are still plenty of California Chardonnay drinkers out there who want “big and buttery,” and they don’t care who knows it. That’s cool with me, I’m not judging—I just don’t want that personally. I prefer more brightness and freshness. Obviously, it’s wrong to typecast California Chardonnay these days, as it is actually a quite diverse and exciting category, but at the lower end of the price spectrum, I encounter more sweetness/butter than the opposite. Enter Matt Ahern, a seasoned sommelier and wine sales pro whose mission in starting his Wonderland Project was to create affordable California Chardonnay that he, himself “wanted to drink.” In the case of today’s 2014 “White Queen,” it means lively, mineral, minimally oaked Chardonnay with no shortage of depth—but no excess of extract or sweetness. This is Chardonnay I want to drink, too, and if your tastes run to the cleaner, crisper end of the Chardonnay spectrum (Puligny, Chablis, etc.), I’d highly recommend picking some up. At this price-point, there is nothing like it on the market.
“At this price-point, there is nothing like it on the market.”