Sean Minor Four Bears Chardonnay 2014

Golden straw color; white peach, pear on the nose; pear, green apple, pineapple, tropical fruit on the palate;

subtle butter—vinified in small French oak but also in stainless steel for balance and oak monster avoidance; good acidity, medium body, minerality on the finish. Balanced, food friendly, restrained alcohol (13.5%).

Sean and Nicole Minor started Sean Minor winery in 2005 after Sean worked for Beaulieu Vineyard, took classes at UC-Davis (he earned his first degree in finance at Arizona State), then at King Estate Winery, Benton Lane Winery, and Renwood Winery. The reason for the change from finance to winemaking was simple, “Not long after Nicole and I were married, we discovered our second largest monthly expense was wine. We enjoy wine every day with dinner, when friends and family come to visit, during celebrations … actually, I can’t think of times we don’t enjoy wine. Starting our own winery is both a professional and personal dream.”

There are three Sean Minor labels. “Four Bears” references their four children and produces California sauvignon blanc, Central Coast chardonnay and pinot noir, and Paso Robles cabernet sauvignon. Sean Minor makes Napa cabernet sauvignon, Carneros pinot noir, and a Napa red blend. Point North makes Oregon pinot noir. There is a fourth label, H Mynors, that makes a zinfandel sourced from Sonoma, Dry Creek Valley, Amador and Lodi vineyards (H Mynors is Sean’s ninth great grandfather who brought his family to America in the early 1600s).

The Minor’s goal, with consulting winemaker Will Bucklin, is to produce quality, terroir-driven wine at affordable prices. Their chardonnay succeeds, avoiding butter bomb and oak monster excess while maintaining a tasty and approachable chard profile. Does well with food, very well as counterpoint to spicy food. $13-15

Sean Minor website

Second photo: Minor family, the children are the “Four Bears”

Sean Minor Four Bears Chardonnay

Minor family