Domestic Selection: Chardonnay, 1988, Monte Verde

Widely known for their successes in motor racing, brothers Frank and Phil Arciero, along with their sons, operate one of California’s largest construction and development companies. The message: Success is an attitude.

With 700 acres of estate owned vineyard land, a 78,000 sq. ft. production and bottling facility and a complete self-contained water reclamation system Arciero (pro­nounced Ar-chi-ero) is capable of producing 500,000 cases per an­num. While operating at only 20% capacity so far, this is staggering growth potential; considering that the winery only officially opened to the public in 1986. Located in San Luis Obispo County, Arciero is currently the largest estate win­ery in Paso Robles (with the land values in Napa valley “going through the roof’ the Central Coast is fast becoming an appellation of recognition). Arciero offers nearly 20 different wines under several labels (including a “Race Car” label). Their Monte Verde Chardonnay emerges the front runner in this months search for outstanding wine value.

Chardonnay, though bold, is a very versatile wine. For those who like a dry white aperitif, it can be perfection. More restrained in flavors than some other varietals, it complements fish courses with finesse, yet certainly has enough complexity for poultry , veal, and a wide variety of pasta dishes. Some people would not consider anything else but a Chardonnay with a fruit and cheese platter.

Our selection this month offers a youthfully clear medium green color. It smells fresh and clean with a straight forward pleasant fragrance bearing light oak tones. Fairly broad on the palate, the wine fills the mouth with assertive fruit flavors. The winemaker Mike Loykasek opted to blend 12% of the wine with other varietals to increase the complexity of its character. Excellent acidity keeps the pa­late enlivened. The smooth finish ends with a nice aftertaste reminiscent of green plums.

Serve chilled at dinner time to accompany grilled turkey or chick­en breast fillets. Use it to brighten a buffet lunch spread.

(a late Editor’s note: the winery has informed us that a 5 star re­staurant here in the southland re­cently chose the Monte Verde as it’s varietal-by-the-glass Chardon-nay. Just another feather!)

Cellaring Notes: Requires no further age­ing… crafted to drink best in 1990, but will hold through 1991.

Reviewed by Larry Tepper

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