Hunt Cellars Chardonnay GlassIt’s rich. It’s unctuous. It’s just damn good.

The 2005 Hunt Cellars Moonlight Sonata Reserve is the current release (that’s not a typo) of their stellar reserve Chardonnay.

I bought a bottle last year during my Paso Robles vacation because it was incredibly delicious and took “unctuous mouthfeel” to whole ‘nother level. I brought it home and somehow, during the course of an educational Burgundy/Chardonnay tasting, I discovered that the bottle had mysteriously disappeared. Well, while I have my suspicions, there wasn’t a lot I could do. I just knew that I hadn’t lost a nearly $40 bottle of Chardonnay!  I do have my standards!

Anyway, while at the Paso Robles pre-conference excursion, I got to talk to Dave Hunt, the winemaker at Hunt Cellars. By the way, he’s legally blind and that’s an interesting story in itself. I mentioned that I had lost my one bottle and he was generous enough to approve that I have another bottle for review. Which for me was a no-brainer because I already love the wine!

This is one of the most flavorful Chardonnays I’ve ever had. Or, to state it more accurately, this Chardonnay’s mouthfeel is like the proverbial “party in the mouth.” There’s no way that you’d confuse it with one of its Burgundian cousins; it is quintessentially California, and it wears its California heritage proudly.

It’s a beautiful clear gold in the glass, and the nose gives you a typical California Chardonnay nose: cream, citrus, green apple, vanilla, and a bit of nuttiness that’s a little different.  And then you get to taste it.

There is an oiliness about the mouthfeel that reaches beyond just Chardonnay.  The palate reflects the nose and the nuttiness is a definite hint of pine nuts, which explains the oiliness. I say that, but you need to know that this wine is not oily. It’s a textural thing. It’s rich, with green apple, white peach, cream, pear, and pine nuts dancing over the palate, and the pine nuts staying around for the finish.

The only bad thing about this is that you can only get it from the winery.  There’s not much left; Dave should be releasing the 2006 (if it’s not already released) pretty soon.  The good thing is that you can purchase it online at their website,

Yes, it’s expensive. But so worth it.

Hunt Cellars
2875 Oakdale Rd, Paso Robles, CA 93446
(805) 237-1600


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