Different than most California Chardonnays, the Eden Rift Chardonnay “Valiant” 2018 begins with rocky, lemon blossom, preserved grapefruit smells. Dried tropical and stone fruits, matched by savory/earthy flavors in the mouth. Lemon zest, apricot and pineapple fruitiness. Its “Old World” personality, i.e. very little to no noticeable oak, butter or summer fruit basket flavors, sets it apart from most California Chardonnays.
My introduction to the Eden Rift Chardonnay “Valliant” 2018 came with neither fanfare nor introduction. Other matters were being discussed. Tasting it sort-of blind, I knew it was Chardonnay, but California Chardonnay was not on my mind. My head was in southern Burgundy. My head is happy there. Reading up on the wine later I found other wine writers put the wine in the one-foot-in-France-one-in-California camp. I have it as only the right big toe in CA. Maybe it was the day, maybe it was me at the moment.
Eden Rift’s vineyard is in the Cienega Valley AVA, twenty miles from the Monterey Bay/Pacific Ocean with sand dunes and the Gavilan Range in between. The vineyard lies on top of an ancient seabed, full of sea fossils and limestone-heavy soils. That, the cool Pacific winds and top-notch winemaking result in this outstanding, “Hall of Fame Value” wine.