Cinnabar has been around since 1983, when owner Tom Mudd, a scientist and researcher, decided to take his interest in grapes to a new level. For many years, this little winery that sits high in the Santa Cruz Mountians near Saratoga was a well kept local secret, but with its recent vintages it has garnered widespread acclaim for producing wines that are both high quality and great values.
Named after the mineral that contains murcury and was prized by medieval alchemists, Cinnabar strives for modern day alchemy in the transformation of its land and fruit into something extraordinary. Tom and his winemaker George Troquato have indeed managed to create gold, and this wine is a shining example of it.
I've been drinking Cinnabars wines for a while, primarily their Murcury Rising red blend, which is one of the best values in California wines, in my opinion. I was excited to try their estate Chard, hoping for a similar ratio of quality and price, and was not disappointed. This tastes like Chardonnays that sell for twice its price.
A pale golden yellow, this wine has a wonderful floral nose of honey and roses with a splash of grapefruit, and a hint of oak. On the palate it is crisp, with a nice balance of acidity and sweetness, and contains flavors of pears, citrus zest, and light cream. The wine has a beautifully clean, long finish.
The lightness of the oak in this wine and its crisp fruit make it a good all around food Chardonnay, and one that has the flexibility to accompany a wider range of foods including Asian. I had this one with some pork and shrimp wontons in a spicy ginger sesame sauce.
Overall Score: 8.5/9
How Much?: $25
You can purchase this wine directly from the winery's Web site.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Acid Freaks Unite: Highlights From the 2015 IPOB Tasting Vinography Images: A Brief Oasis Going Dry In California Off to Taste Champagne! Vinography Unboxed: Week of April 5, 2015 Vinography Images: The Color of Spring Vinography Unboxed: Week of March 29, 2015 Vinography Images: Waves of Vines Tempranillo (and Gang) TAPAS Tasting: April 26, San Francisco A Man, An Island, and a Bottle of Grüner: The Wines of Rudi Pichler
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune