2016 Joel Gott Santa Barbara County Chardonnay


Joel Gott Wines is based in the Napa Valley but produces Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and other wines from select vineyards throughout California, Oregon and Washington. The philosophy behind the operation is to blend grapes from a wide range of sources in order to provide complex, balanced and flavorful wines at affordable prices.  Growing up in a family that had been in the Napa Valley wine business for several generations, it was natural that Joel Gott would eventually enter the local trade. But he didn’t follow the usual route by, say, attending UC Davis or by inheriting the family business. While in his twenties, Gott and his brother operated the Palisades Food Market in Calistoga, which they turned into a successful purveyor of prepared gourmet foods. During this time Gott noticed growing demand for quality wines with a low price point. In 1996 Joel Gott and his winemaker girlfriend (soon wife) made an Amador County Zinfandel that received rave reviews. Energized by success, they went on to produce California appellation Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. From the start, they realized they could produce more interesting wines by blending grapes from a variety of sources and appellations instead of trying to make single vineyard wines. Rather than build an expensive winery or purchase a vineyard, they have focused on maintaining excellent relations with growers, purchasing grapes at low prices and using custom crush facilities in order to keep the prices of their wines as low as possible.   Today the wines in Gott’s portfolio include California Zinfandel, California 815 Cabernet, California Sauvignon Blanc, Monterey Chardonnay, and Washington Riesling. In 2005 the 815 California Cabernet Sauvignon won a Food & Wine American Wine Award, and in 2007, the California Zinfandel did as well. As the owner of the popular gourmet hamburger stand, Gott’s Roadside, as well as a partner in Three Thieves Wine, Joel Gott is making his mark as a younger generation Napa Valley entrepreneur. At the same time, Joel Gott Wines continues to grow and receive accolades for delivering a great product at a value price point.


Hotei’s new offering from Joel Gott, the Santa Barbara Chardonnay, is a little more Burgundian in character than the unoaked Chardonnay many customers might be familiar with. With a portion of the fruit fermented as well as aged in oak barrels, the wine offers a bit more vanilla spice as well as a rounder and softer mouthfeel. The wine is blended from several sites in Santa Barbara, including the Rita’s Crown Vineyard, a high-altitude site with steep slopes, calcareous soils and a cool, marine climate. Stone fruit flavors, freshness, minerality, and balance - a lovely wine that will pair well with roasted chicken, crab cakes or pasta dishes made with cream or cheese. 


Partially hand-picked and whole-cluster pressed, the fruit was partially fermented in oak barrels with the rest in stainless steel. After blending, aging consisted of 13% new French oak, 26% 1-year and 2-year old French oak barrels and 61% stainless steel.

Tasting notes

Tropical aromas laced with citrus, honey and vanilla open up to flavors of baked apples, citrus and spice, framed by fresh acidity. A hint of vanilla lingers on the finish.


Santa Barbara County