Morgan Winery’s “Metallico” Un-Oaked Chardonnay, Monterey County, is one of the best wines to emerge from California in the 21st Century; the first vintage was 2001. It’s a direct contradiction to the over-oaked, stridently spicy, cloyingly creamy morgan_bottle_ch_metallico.jpg chardonnays that we saw so much of in the 1990s and that may, perhaps, be disappearing. At least this wine offers a delightful alternative. The grapes are fermented in stainless steel and then the wine is aged a scant three months in three-year-old oak, meaning that the barrels are neutral, though they provide a touch of softening to the crispness and a bit of suppleness to the texture. The wine does not go through the malolactic process, so there’s no hint of butter or cream, just the essence of chardonnay grapes.

For 2007, Metallico is utterly clean, fresh and pure, bursting with notes of green apple, lemon and lime peel; it’s an incredibly pretty wine, subtly floral and spicy, with seductive presence and vibrancy. In fact, with its electrifying acid and plangent resonance, it feels almost crystalline. Limestone permeates flavors of roasted lemon and lime peel with touches of tangerine and grapefruit, while there at the finish, in the bouquet, comes a winsome whiff of camellia and a mysterious after-scent of smoke. 6,000 cases were made, so there’s plenty to go around. Excellent. About $22.

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