2021 Joey Tensley, Fundamental Chardonnay, Central Coast, California, USA

2021 Joey Tensley, Fundamental Chardonnay, Central Coast, California, USA

Product: 20218162829
Prices start from £23.00 per bottle (75cl). Buying options
2021 Joey Tensley, Fundamental Chardonnay, Central Coast, California, USA

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Available for delivery or collection. Pricing includes duty and VAT.


The 2021 Fundamental Chardonnay may say ‘Central Coast’ on the label but, in reality, it was made from 100% Santa Barbara fruit this vintage. The nose is fine, lemony and elegant, leading to a fresh palate of pear and pithy, green apples. The texture is fine and rounded and the wine feels very pure. A refreshing note of tart apple lingers with a savoury twist on the rewarding finish.

Drink now until 2026

Catriona Felstead MW, Senior Buyer, Berry Bros. & Rudd (March 2023)

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Critics reviews

Jancis Robinson MW17/20

Made from 100% Santa Barbara fruit, this vintage. Fundamental is Joey Tensley’s range of quality, value wines, intended to’ over-deliver at every level’.

As tense as the white Rhône blend on the nose, that glorious creaminess and come-hither quality of California Chardonnay on the palate. It’s really charming and very good value.

Drink 2023 - 2026

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com (September 2023)

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Wine Advocate92/100

The 2021 Fundamental Chardonnay features quince, apricot, green herbs and baker’s yeast scents. The medium-bodied palate balances savoury beeswax and apple character with bright, citrusy acidity and finishes with a touch of texture that will help this pair with dishes from pasta to chicken.

Drink 2022 - 2027

Erin Brooks, Wine Advocate (December 2022)

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About this WINE

Tensley Wines

Tensley Wines

Joey Tensley discovered wine at the age of 12 during a soccer trip to Bordeaux. He started making wine in 1993 at 22 and set up his own Tensley brand in 1998, spending the next 20 years finessing his craft with vintages in Chile, Argentina, Spain, and the Rhône Valley. Joey had already discovered a particular passion for Syrah and had started his own production in Santa Barbara with the mindset to create great quality and affordable wines from Rhône varieties.

He has since extended his range, producing exciting top-quality Syrah from single vineyards with excellent cellaring potential under the Tensley label, as well as brilliant and affordable Rhône blends, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon for drinking now under his Fundamental label.

Joey’s approach is simple: he works with great fruit from the best growers in the Central Coast and is as ‘hands-off’ as possible in the winery with minimum use of oak and sulfur. In 2016, he purchased 16 acres of his only estate vineyard, Colson Canyon, which lies above the all-important fog line, from which he had already been buying grapes to make his flagship cuvée since 2000.

Known as the King of Syrah, Joey Tensley has become renowned for his expertise with this variety, gaining a long list of accolades and high scores from critics such as Robert Parker. Today, he is widely recognized as one of the foremost winemakers in California. His wines reflect his thoughtful, laid-back approach and demonstrate a mineral purity that is quite exceptional for this region, especially at these price points.

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Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara County

At the foot of the Central Coast, just north of Los Angeles, the Santa Barbara County reverberates with its Missionary past, although viticulture as we know didn't arrive here until the 1970s. Now there are 6,000 ha of world class Pinot Noir & Chardonnay

While fog banks shape the season, together with a notable rainfall deficit between May & November, elevated terraces such as Bien Nacido in the Santa Maria Valley AVA faciliate premium fruit growing. Santa Ynez Valley AVA enjoys similar trait, though cooler still;

Recommended Producers:
Au Bon Climat's Sanford & Benedict Chardonnay from the region's Santa Rita hills is a prime example. Qupe are another excellent source

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Chardonnay is often seen as the king of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.

Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.

It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.

Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.

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