Following is a repost of a recent wine review from my Facebook wine group, Armin’s Wine Stuff. Going forward, reviews will be here first and reposted to FB.

I have tasted through the last four vintages of this wine. This marks a change in direction stylistically.

Artesa Carneros Chardonnay 2010 shows that Mark Beringer is willing to take what has been a historically (in my opinion) over-rich and chewy, buttery/oaky Chardonnay in a more elegant direction. Perhaps ramping down incrementally from Artesa’s long-established sweet tropical punch slathered in butter, sprinkled in cinnamon and served on a vanilla-soaked bookshelf (not to say that style isn’t worth a sip on certain occasions), this wine shows a few steps in a more restrained direction. The fruit is not as ripe, showing pineapple and mango underneath pear (where prior iterations may have been the opposite). The oak is less liberal—I can only assume (since their website is not updated with tech sheets on the 2010 release yet) that the fermentation/barrel program is similar to 2009: 65% French oak (25% new)/35% stainless steel—than prior vintages which showed much more new oak. The mouthfeel is more mineral and thus more bright and vibrant (curiously, 2009 and 2007 tech sheets show a similar malolactic fermentation regimen, so who knows what differs for 2010).

All-in-all a lighter, cleaner and truer representation of the fruit less adulterated than prior vintages without trying to be anything other than Carneros Chardonnay. It succeeds at what it is trying to be, it just isn’t my cup of tea. Certainly not bad (and decidedly a step in the direction of my taste). Wine Enthusiast hit it with a typically fawning 92 points. I give it a 3.75/5 (yeah, it’s a quarter-star—what of it?!?).

Paired quite nicely with a homemade creamy Chicken Piccatta with loads of garlic, dill and capers on egg noodles and pan-sauteed Brussels sprouts with white Balsamic vinegar. Kickin’ it old-school.