Review: 2008 Bianchi Chardonnay Santa Barbara County

Bottom Line: The closest thing to true Santa Barbara County Chardonnay without breaking the bank. Lush and easy to drink. $13

The Rest Of The Story: There's something about Chardonnay from Santa Barbara County.  Not just any Chardonnay, but Chard that reflects the true characteristics of this region.  Perhaps what makes the region so appealing and interesting is the contradiction its qualities bring to mind.

It's rich, but not flabby.  It's slightly puckering, while being very smooth.  It's concentrated without being heavy.  Done right, you can taste it for days.

A few years ago we visited Bianchi Winery in Paso Robles.  Frankly, we weren't all that enamored with it.  In stark contrast to the winery we had just left (Tobin James), Bianchi seemed contrived and targeting residents of Wisteria Lane.  An architectural feat to be sure, with its modern tasting room and sailboat pond, but not the warmest atmosphere.  But the wine...

Anyway, we snatched this Chardonnay up at a retailer recently - $13 for an SB Chard?  Hell yeah.

And it did not disappoint.  Lush, with distinctive character, balance, and flavor, this wine isn't the essence of SB County fruit, but there's no question as to its birthplace. Easy to drink and a relative bargain.

Now, enough analysis, grab a corkscrew.