November 1, 2023

Cote Bonneville Chardonnay

Who makes it?

Cote Bonneville is a family winery in the Yakima Valley, Washington State. The Shiels family expanded the vineyard back in the early 1990s when they purchased it and daughter, Kerry Shiels, is now the winemaker. The oldest block in their DuBrul Vineyard was planted with riesling back in 1982. The vineyard sits on the foothills of the Rattlesnake Mountains.

Having tasted a few of their wines recently, I am keen to try more.

How do they make it?

The vineyard these Chardonnay grapes grows is on the sloped vineyards. Despite the slope increasing the available sunlight to ripen the grapes, it is still a cool climate vineyard. What makes this wine unusual is the barrel fermentation with extended lees contact of around 18 months. It also undergoes full malolactic fermentation. The wines are then racked rather than fined or filtered.  

What does it taste like?

There can be no denying that this wine is creamy in texture, aroma and flavour. How could it be anything but after all that time in barrel? That creaminess in no way detracts from the citrus and light pineapple nature of the fruit. It is dry, fuller bodied but crisp and balanced. 

The time in barrel also has given it a nutty spiciness as well as a polished softness. That softness is kept in line with a fresh flush of acid. The Cote Bonneville Chardonnay is a well judged and elegant wine and is one that will age gracefully in your cellar. 

What to drink it with?

The flavours of this Chardonnay are robust enough to enjoy with anything from salad topped with either grilled Haloumi, or grilled scallops or grilled chicken through to white fish served with creamy sauce and toasted flaked almonds. But it does not need food at all.

Quickie review «This is a fuller creamier style Chardonnay while still being elegant and fresh. It doesn’t overwhelm while still giving generously.»

Country of Origin: Yakima Valley, USA 
Tasting Date: July 2021
Price:  US$56
Drink: now – 5+ years
Needs food: no
Source: tasting

Like the sound of this Chardonnay from the USA, you might like to try.
Frei Brothers Russian River Chardonnay
Journeyman Chardonnay

Visit cotebonneville.com for more information.

First published 14th September 2021. It has been updated November 2023.

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