With palates overloaded from bratwurst, beer, hot peppers and home-made fries our host introduced a Chardonnay, local, from Ramona.
I was fortunate at this tasting to be in the company of two professional tasters; Travis Tingley and Trasier Schuyler. I like evaluating wine in a group as someone always tends to pick up on a nuance that is overlooked, and you are then able to go back in and explore the taste or aroma.
Chardonnay is typically ‘challenged’ in Southern California, the heat tends to make thin, acrid, fruit bombs with an alcohol rating off the charts, which is why they are rarely mentioned.
Milagro Farm, Vineyards and Winery is owned by Kit & Karen Sickels, and is a 90 acre farm and vineyard in the Ramona AVA. The winery is located at 2,600 feet which has a definite impact on the diurnal and peak temperature ranges. The altitude, combined with careful winemaking has allowed them to create a special wine, that tastes like it is from much farther North.
The Milagro Chardonnay has orange floral notes, bosc pear and a definite creaminess. One third of this wine underwent malolactic fermentation in Oak, something that Travis Picked up on right away. This Chardonnay was an unusual example, more typical in style to a Chablis, but with more fruitiness. There was a good amount of minerality present and it was a wonderful example of Chardonnay, and the nicest Californian Chardonnay that I have tasted.