2011 Edgebaston Chardonnay, Wine Spectator 90, $14.98.

The excellent 2011 Edgebaston Chardonnay from Stellenbosch, South Africa opens with aromas of white flowers, bread-dough yeastiness, fresh lemons, and mineral water. On the palate, crisp green apples, pears, and faint almonds come through with caramel custard and ground cinnamon. The personality of this wine is crisp with refreshing citrus minerality, yet there's warmth from the caramel custard and cinnamon that creates an attractive duality. Many who love unoaked Chardonnays and Chablis will love still love this wine as the caramel custard, and cinnamon nuances are subtle and add interesting complexities. This wine is ideal for those who love Northern Burgundy but do not want to endure the price. I feel that Wine Spectators 90 point review was a little stingy and would rate this wine in the 91-92 range.

- Tasho Katsaboulas

Casa Del Bosque 2013 Chardonnay, Casablanca Valley, Chile - Descorchados 90 Points (Tasho Katsaboulas 92-93)

2013 Casa Del Bosque Chardonnay, Casablanca Valley, Chile. $14.98 & Descorchados 90 Points (Tasho Katsaboulas 92-93)

First, I can only assume that this wine was going through a bit of a quiet period when Descorchados scored it 90 points. I give this sensational wine a much higher score of 92-93. After turning the bottle up 180 degrees to splash the wine into a decanter and agitating (like a washing machine) intermittently for 10 minutes, the wine immediately reveals rock salt, flint, cold wet white stone and pear on the nose. There's a beautiful mineral character within this wine. After twenty minutes, a remarkable depth of pear, apple, cold butter and hints of vanilla are given on the palate. Over the next 10 - 15 minutes, the depth intensifies to a golden richness of the fruits above. A sustained current of crisp acidity and sea-breeze minerality energetically continues the flavors across the palate. On the finish, the core apple and pear flavors become accented by flavors of lemon oil, baking-spice accented vanilla and grapefruit on the 40-second finish. Later, a taste of sweet yellow plums (wine is dry) emerges. The depth and concentration of this wine would be admirable in a bottle at twice the price. The observations above were all experienced within 45 minutes of the bottle being opened. I returned a couple of hours later and found the wine presenting an incredible seamless melding of oceanic salinity, chilled grapefruit liqueur, and brown spices with expanded length. For enthusiasts of mineral driven Chardonnays, this is a show-stopping effort by Casa Del Bosque at an unbelievable price. Chalk this up as my top Chardonnay recommendation up to a budget double the wine's price!

-Tasho Katsaboulas

This article was published on Sep 28, 2015