Paul Lato Le Souvenir Sierra Madre Chardonnay 2020
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
From a great site outside of Santa Maria, the 2020 Chardonnay Le Souvenir Sierra Madre Vineyard is another ripe, powerful Chardonnay revealing musky notes of melon, honeyed lemon, toasted bread, and hints of almond paste and chalky minerality. Full-bodied, concentrated, and layered on the palate, it stays remarkably light on its feet, has good acidity, and a great finish that picks up some classic Santa Maria salinity and minerality.
The 2020 Chardonnay le Souvenir Sierra Madre Vineyard has a pleasantly old-school style, with ripe aromas of apricot, apple pie, nutmeg and jasmine. The full-bodied palate is ripe, concentrated and satiny with seamless acidity and creamy banana touches on the long finish. It comes from 27-year-old Wente clone vines and matured for 16 months in 45% new French oak. Best After 2022.
Passion, quality, and authenticity. These are the guiding principles of our small, artisanal winery dedicated to producing Burgundy and Rhone varietals. Paul Lato is a former sommelier who studied wine extensively and traveled the world before starting his winemaking operation on the Central Coast in 2002. Though their style is inspired by the balance and harmony, they also seek to capture the intensity of flavor that is a hallmark of sun-kissed California vineyards.
Through small-lot boutique production, minimal intervention in the winery, and purity of intention, the team works to achieve elegance in the bottle that showcases the unique qualities of these amazing sites. The ultimate goal is to create wines that are seamless and textural with the structure and balance to complement fine cuisine.
A lesser-known but elite AVA within the larger Santa Barbara district, the Santa Maria Valley AVA runs precisely west to east starting near the coast. The valley funnels cool, Pacific Ocean air to the vineyards more inland, allowing grapes a longer hang time to ripen evenly and achieve their full potential by harvest time. Combined with minimal rainfall, consistent warm sunshine, and well-drained soils, it is an ideal environment for grape growing.
Many of the wineries here are small and highly respected, having established a reputation in the 1970s and 80s for producing excellent Central Coast wines like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. More recently, Syrah has also proven quite successful in the region. Many vineyards are owned by growers who sell their grapes to other wineries, so it is common to see the same vineyard name on bottlings from different wineries. Bien Nacido Vineyard is perhaps the best-known and most prestigious.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.