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Starmont Chardonnay
Napa, CA 2009

Starmont Winery is located at the gateway of approaching Napa Valley when you are traveling northbound into the valley on highway 29. Just as you are cresting the big bridge, you see beautiful vineyards to your left and a large barn type building with the name “Starmont” on it that can’t be missed!

This is the Stanley Ranch area and your first major winery glimpse as you work your way into Napa or Sonoma. As a former resident of Napa, I drove by this winery, twice a day, going to and from work and always admired it, but never stopped in for a tasting. It wasn’t until I actually moved away from Napa and was visiting over a weekend for shear purposes of wine tasting that I gave them a visit. I was wrong to have waited so long!

Starmont Winery is a member of the Napa Sustainable Winegrowing Group. Their estate vineyards at Stanly Ranch became certified in 2007. They are leaders in the growing trend to go “Green” in the winemaking industry and produce premium wines from sustainably farmed grapes. They truly have succeeded with their Chardonnay.

The grapes used in making the 2009 Chardonnay are none other than the ones you see from highway 29 at Stanley Ranch. The wine has a Chardonnay character all it’s own. The color is stunning. Pure Gold. It’s full bodied and quite a suple mouthfeel – that would lead you to next assume it’s oaky and buttery. But it’s not. Don’t get me wrong, this is an oaked Chardonnay and it does have some creaminess that lends to a butter feel – but it’s very subtle. Not over powering at all. It also has a forwardness of apple, honey and citrus of lemons. Bottom line is that it’s quite balanced and very enjoyable.

While I’m a “old school” Chardonnay lover, (buttery cream brûlée with lots of oak! – I know, so outdated!) I have come to appreciate and enjoy the “new school” of unoaked Chards and all the wonderful fruit they bring to the table. That’s what impressed me about the Starmont Chardonnay – it brought both schools to the same bottle!

I would score this one THREE BOTTLES. It’s definitely worth a few purchases now and then for those meal pairings and summer sipping parties. I paired this Chardonnay with grilled chicken and grilled asparagus and it matched up nicely. It averages around $15.99 – again found mine at Costco for $11.99. (gotta love the wine buys at Costco!)

Starmont Winery has much history in Napa and at the same time they are bringing new trends and technologies to the trade. This ’09 Chardonnay is “old school” charm with “new school” flare! Reach for the Starmont and give it try!