- WinemakerPaul Lato
- RegionCalifornia Central Coast
- AppellationArroyo Grande
- VineyardRincon Vineyard
Paul Lato Chardonnay Done & Done Rincon Vineyard Arroyo Grande 2020
Paul Lato is a sommelier turned winemaker, critical darling, and California superstar. Lisa Perrotti-Brown proclaims, "Paul Lato's Chardonnays are among the best in California...." and every time we taste these wines we’re reminded of the truth of this. 95 Points from Dunnuck is quite the feat for Cali-chardonnay...this limited production beauty is one for the collectors!
Paul Lato is undoubtedly a treasured California producer at the top of his game. He was discovered by Robert Parker, Jr. about a year and a bit into making his first-ever wines, while interning with the legendary Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat, back in 2002. Just recently bottled, the wines had no labels, and Paul hadn’t even decided on the brand name. Robert Parker was blown away by the shiner bottles he tasted and told Paul, “You have a true talent. Hurry up with those names, I want to be the first one to write about you.” It was a rather excellent beginning, and twenty years later, Paul continues to make some of the most complex and layered wines to be had in California!
This 2020, from the fabled Rincon Vineyard, farmed by the Talley family, is just a pristine and impeccably balanced Cali-chardonnay that showcases the potential and pedigree of Arroyo Grande. Reared in 50% new French oak, this is simultaneously elegant and racy – with bright citrus notes of yuzu and lemon and rich sensations of poached pear and baked apples. Hints of brown butter spiced with cardamom, vanilla, and cinnamon add a warmth and depth to this wine, with a mineral-edged zip that keeps everything fresh into a long and layered finish. Treat this as you would any top premier cru Burgundy – grant it time in bottle or leave a window to decant...the wine thrives as it breathes and while it is drinkable right out the bottle, it transforms into something nearly mystical with patience and care.
PAIRING IDEAS: One of my favorite dishes to master in culinary school was the classic roast chicken with pan gravy. Saute up some onions, mushrooms, carrots, and celery until slightly softened, then set aside. Sear the skin-on, seasoned chicken in the pan for some color, add the vegetables back and roast in the oven. Once cooked, pull the chicken to rest and build a sauce with the vegetables by adding stock, a bit of wine, fresh herbs, and a knob of butter. Reduce and serve it all over mashed potatoes. Classic.