Ticen Ranch Chardonnay Napa Valley 17

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For Hammond and me, the first harbinger of the cooler weather ahead is the bottle of California Chardonnay you'll find in our fridge. There's something magical about how a beautifully rich, balanced, creamy West Coast Chardonnay pairs with cold weather. Sure, we'll occasionally pull the cork on one in the summer months; however, it's always the mark of the seasonal shift when we begin to gravitate towards more full-bodied whites. 
The real challenge for those of us on the East Coast is finding West Coast wines of quality and value -- especially with wines from the Napa Valley. It's much like the old adage - quality and value, pick one. This week, we get both with Ticen Ranch Chardonnay.
Ticen Ranch vineyards are part of the Boisset Family wine group, owned and managed by the powerhouse husband and wife duo Jean-Charles Boisset and Gina Gallo -- yes, that Gallo. Together they oversee a veritable who's-who of venerable properties on the West-Coast, including Raymond, Deloach, and Buena Vista. All of their properties, including Ticen Ranch, are certified under the Napa Green, organic and Biodynamic programs.
In the glass, a quick swirl opens up aromas of ripe pear, honeysuckle, and lemon custard, leading to a creamy palate of baked apple and dark caramel. There's just the right amount of acidity to balance the creamy goodness into the toasty finish. It drinks beautifully right out of the fridge; however, give it five minutes to warm slightly in the glass, and you'll enjoy an even more harmonious balance.
If rich, creamy, and toasty is your Chardonnay style, this one is definitely for you!
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