Aromas of green apple, honeydew, custard, hay and Clementine merge with flavors of butterscotch, lime, herbs and cinnamon toast. Crisp and refreshing acidity are carried through to the finish.
Wine Advocate 89 points - Clean, crisp and mineral laced, the 2012 Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley is medium-bodied, racy and focused, with well-defined stone fruits, white peach, salty minerality and hints of herbs all showing in the bouquet. It too is perfect for starting a meal over the coming couple of years. (Aug 2014)
Wine Advocate 89 points - Tasted as a barrel sample, the 2012 Chardonnay has outstanding potential, with pretty white peach, flowers and citrus nuances as well as a balanced mouthfeel. Showing good mid-palate depth and juicy acidity, it should drink nicely for 4-5 years. Drink 2014-2017.
89-91 Points (Aug 2013)
Alta Maria Vineyards is owned by winemaker Paul Wilkins, James Ontiveros and Sao Anash. Paul and James met while in college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and help found Vines to Wines. While still in college, Paul landed a job with renowned winemaker John Alban and worked his way to the top of the ranks. After eight years at Alban Winery, with the last few as winemaker, Paul left to consult for other wineries. Around the same time, James planted an eight acre plot of Pinot Noir on his family’s estate, Rancho Ontiveros in Santa Maria, California. Together they partnered with Sao, a former executive director of the Santa Barbara Vintner’s Association to start Alta Maria Vineyards. Alta Maria means “Higher or Heavenly Mary,” and is also the name given by James’ ancestor, Don Juan Pacifico Ontiveros to the Santa Maria River. The homage to the past continues with the wine label which features hand-hewn iron nails that were used by homesteaders before the Industrial Revolution.
|Chardonnay clone 4 was fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged for 11 months in neutral French Oak.
|Alta Maria Vineyards is a partnership between winemaker Paul Wilkins, James Ontiveros and Sao Anash.
Paul Wilkins and James Ontiveros were college buddies at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and were part of a small group of wine aficionados who founded a wine group, Vines to Wines. While still in college, Paul landed a job with renowned winemaker John Alban in the Edna Valley and eventually was offered an assistant winemaker position. He worked with John Alban for eight years. After graduation James worked as a grape buyer for Kendall-Jackson and later Gallo of Sonoma, an experience that allowed him to walk and learn from hundreds of vineyards all over California. James eventually became the Sales and Marketing Director for Bien Nacido Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley.
Paul left Alban Winery for winemaking consulting positions and James planted an 8 acre Pinot Noir vineyard on his family's Rancho Ontiveros. A mutual friend suggested Paul take a look at "what this guy James Ontiveros" was doing with his Pinot vineyard in Santa Maria. When Paul saw his old college friend it wasn't long before the two decided to reunite, this time to make wine. The reunion would prove to be fortuitous, bringing together Paul's expertise in winemaking and James vast knowledge of viticulture. Together they partnered with Sao Anash, former executive director of the Santa Barbara Vintner's Association and started Alta Maria Vineyards.
Alta Maria means "Higher or Heavenly Mary," referring to the name bestowed on the Santa Maria River by James' ancestor, Don Juan Pacifico Ontiveros in the 1800s. The label artwork for Alta Maria Vineyards features hand-hewn iron nails used by homesteaders before the Industrial Revolution introduced mass produced machine cut nails.