Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Atelier Chardonnay taste test: Our take on this crisp beverage

What we really think of Atelier's intriguing and mineral-forward chardonnay

Wherever there are friends and family, there is room for a beautiful bottle of wine. There are no rules governing what varietal is best, and there are no wrong ways to enjoy this joyful beverage. This concept is wonderfully illustrated by the ever-expanding menu of sophisticated wines becoming available to the public. Atelier wines, which is committed to water-efficient, sustainably farmed chardonnay grapes as well as land conservation, brings us its crisp 2021 Chardonnay made from grapes lovingly harvested in the Middle Reach neighborhood of the Russian River Valley in California.

Atelier notes that “the site that captured our fascination is a bed of Yolo gray clay over blue loam with a profoundly deep gravel base . . . Fruit was hand-harvested in the early morning and delivered whole-cluster, direct-to-the-press at first light. Only free-run juice was captured to produce this wine, and the clones were fermented separately, each with a different yeast strain selected to enhance the flavor profile of the fruit. 100% barrel-fermented in French oak, we favor second-fill barrels to minimize oak overtones.”

The company goes on to state that “we prize the barrels most for their fermentation contribution of mouthfeel as well as the surface area of sur lie aging they provide.”

According to Atelier, its wine is aged in-barrel for 11 months and undergoes frequent lees stirring for the first six months. After that, the lees stirring occurs less often “to fine-tune the texture.” From there, “the final blend was assembled in late summer and gently fined for brilliance of color and clarity prior to being bottled.”
Clinking glasses of white wine
Appearance: 2021 Atelier Chardonnay is pale gold with a slightly green cast. The label is deliciously crisp and minimal, as is the thick and milky white seal coating the cork.
Nose: With notes of Bartlett pear, earthy almond paste, and sweet honeydew melon, this wine opens up crisp and bright, just like an early California morning in late summer.
Palate: Bright, refined and elegant, Atelier Chardonnay develops into a lemony, apple-forward body with a mineral finish that definitely recalls the specific clay, loam, and gravel soil in which the grapes were grown. Creamy more than buttery due to a honeycomb note, this wine has a delicate and soft finish.
Finish: Slightly tart, the finish is definitely where the lemon comes out to play. These notes, in addition to sea salt, keep the wine delicate and fleeting.
Final thoughts: You’ll note the significance that Atelier places on the morning. It may be sentimental of us, but we can almost fancy that the pale shafts of early morning light that are infused in the wine through the harvesting process are detectable on the palette. Even the mention of late summer brings visions of golden mornings and afternoons quite applicable to the wine itself. While many chardonnay wines can be considered butter bombs, Atelier’s chardonnay has perfectly calibrated roundness and acidity. Its tart and sweet elements keep it dancing on the edge of fruitiness without ever really landing there. Sweetly sophisticated, it manages to disappear from the palate just a little too quickly, just like the magic of a crisp early morning.
Atelier Chardonnay is 13.5% ABV, retails for $45, and is available to ship to 29 US states.

Editors' Recommendations

Claudia Savin
Claudia is a fragrance enthusiast based in the Pacific Northwest. She has a passion for exploring unexpected and overlooked…
This limited edition camping blade is good enough to be a chef’s knife
Chef's knife or camping knife? This blade might be both
Anzick Outdoor Chef's Knife

Get ready to meet the culinary superstar that slices through the competition! The team at The James Brand has joined forces with SITKA STUDIO to bring you the extraordinary Anzick chef knife. This knife is not your average kitchen tool — it's a game-changer designed especially for outdoor cooking adventures. With the rugged durability of a field knife and the high-end functionality of a top-tier chef's knife, the Anzick is here to take your cooking experience to deliciously epic proportions!

The Anzick, a limited-edition masterpiece that brings a professional-grade culinary experience to the open sky, might just be the only knife you'll want (or need).

Read more
A spring favorite: Our top tips for buying, cleaning, and how to cook green beans
Hate green beans? Learn how to cook (and love) this misunderstood veggie
plate of fresh, yummy green beans

Image credit: Adobe Stock

Green beans may be a traditional side dish for holidays like Thanksgiving, but the veggie doesn't always get a lot of love for regular weeknight meals. The truth is though green beans are a great dish to add to your table. Green beans are a good source of fiber, low in sodium, have protein, vitamins, and minerals. The key to adding this healthy and versatile vegetable to your list of go-to sides is knowing how to cook green beans. So, let's get cooking.

Read more
Elevate your takeout food with the right wine (they’re all under $22, too!)
Having takeout? Pair it with one of these inexpensive and easy to find wines for a better overall meal
Chinese food leftovers on a wooden bench.

Takeout isn't just a means to a gut-filling end, it's an entire genre of eating. The style allows you to collect some of your favorite dishes and eat them in the comfort of your home, all without dirtying any pots and pans. It got us through the pandemic and it will be here time and time again, when we need it most.

Wine tends to make food better and that's no different with takeout. You pick the right corresponding wine, and suddenly that teriyaki bowl or gyro tastes all the better. Best, this can be done frugally. We're talking about takeout after all, not Michelin Star dining.

Read more