Cool-climate Chardonnay – 2020 Talbott Kali Hart


If Chardonnay were a person, it would be your dependable best buddy. 


It’s adaptable, reliable and does a very nice job

of going with the flow.  


Chardonnay has two characteristics that distinguish it from other grapes. 

It can be grown successfully in a variety of climates & terrains

and it has a wide range of potential flavors.   

In a word, it’s flexible.


So much of Chardonnay’s final style depends

on the conditions in which it was grown

and how the winemaker treats it during vinification.


The grape itself is, in many ways,

just along for the ride.


Basic RGB

It’s Wine Thursday! our weekly look at a good wine

that sells at a reasonable price and is easy to find

at the store and online. 


When wine drinkers hear the phrase

“grocery store California Chardonnay”  

they usually think “oaky, buttery and full-blown”.   

This week, we’re checking out a California Chardonnay

that, in our opinion, doesn’t fit the stereotype.


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Where it’s from

While many California Chardonnay vineyards are located in the warm inland valleys

such as Napa and Sonoma, you’ll also find a good deal of

“cool-climate” Chardonnay being grown on the slopes

of California’s rolling hills and mountains.   

The Talbott winery is one such example.

Talbott’s Chardonnay vineyards are located in the Santa Lucia Highlands

near Carmel Valley in Monterey County.   

As such, the temperatures are more moderate

which usually results in higher acidity in the grapes

and ultimately, in the wine in the bottle. 


What it is  

There’s a phrase that’s used to describe the Santa Lucia Highlands

wine-producing area…”chilly and hilly”. 

Talbott’s Kali Hart Chardonnay definitely reflects

the terrain and climate from where it is produced. 

This is not an oak/butter bomb.

It’s citrus-forward with a touch of green apple verve up front. 

As it warms up, you will notice a hint of butterscotch.


The acidity and minerality are both slightly higher

than in a typical warm-climate California Chardonnay.

They combine to provide a fresh tang to the finish.


For a sub-$20 Chardonnay, there’s a surprising amount

of complexity here, indicating it will probably

age well and would be worth revisiting in a year or two. 


Where to buy it  

Talbott’s Kali Hart Chardonnay is at Total Wine for $16.49. 

Vons has it for $16.66.  The price at Safeway and Target is $17.99. 

It’s at Fred Meyer and QFC for $18.99.   Ralphs price is $19.99. 

You can order it from Station Plaza Wine for $15.88 

Luekens Wines & Spirits sells it for $15.99 

Same price at Mission Wine…$15.99 

It’s also going for $15.99 at Woods Wholesale Wine 

and K & L Wine Merchants sells it for $16.99