Deep gold color; golden delicious apple, orange blossoms on the nose; apple, lemon, pear, pie crust, vanilla on the palate.
Dry; very round, smooth, soft texture in the mouth. Light-medium body. Very simple chardonnay, but very easy drinker. If you enjoy a dollop of oak, a small pat of butter, and some ripe fruit, this is your bargain pour. Much to Avalon’s credit, none of it is overdone—only three months in French oak, for instance. Some acidity, but mostly gentle and soft; 13.5% ABV
Grapes for this effort came from Santa Barbara County, which accounts for the citrus notes, and from the Russian River Valley, which accounts for the apple notes. Like a growing number of wine makers, Avalon strives to be green—solar panels, waste water reclamation, and Nomacorc’s “Select Bio” zero-carbon closure made with renewable, plant-based biopolymers derived from sugar cane.
Derek Benham, owner of Purple Wine + Spirits created Avalon in 2001. His biggest hit, Mark West Pinot Noir, sold to Constellation Brands in 2012 for $163 million. Blackstone is another of Benham’s brands sold to Castellation.
The website notes the Avalon name celebrates the “legendary isle of Avalon. A mystical, magical island. A place of wonder, healing, and peace. We believe that Avalon can be found within us all through the enjoyment of life’s simple pleasures, one of which is Avalon wine.” Joe Tapparo is the winemaker at Avalon. He studied viticulture at US Davis, then did a series of internships before joining Avalon.
Avalon CHARD California Chardonnay 2017 is simple but delicious expression of California chardonnay fruit. Pair with seafood and fish; chicken; pork; mild curries with buttery sauces; grilled veal with mushrooms; cheddar cheese. Avoid smoked fish and meats; light, fresh cheese; seared salmon or tuna; tomato-based dishes; spicy foods. $9-11