Toasted Head Chardonnay Review (2023)

Toasted Head Chardonnay Featured

What Kind of Wine Is Toasted Head Chardonnay?

Toasted Head Chardonnay is a barrel-fermented white wine from California, filled with charred wood scents and flavors. This Chardonnay begins with aromas of bourbon and green fruit. On the palate, creamy toast and tropical fruit flavors are complemented by a caramel finish. The acidity is bright and refreshing.

The subtle and refined aromatic and flavor characteristics of Chardonnay enable it to undergo different wine-making techniques. Chardonnay, therefore, is a blank canvas for a winemaker to demonstrate their art. From vibrant with primary fruit flavors to complicated aromas of nuts and mushrooms, Chardonnay delivers diverse wine styles. In New World wines, the Chardonnay style depends on the winemaker. Some are oaked, like Toasted Head Chardonnay, while others go for long-term maturation.

Toasted Head Chardonnay Review

  • Winery — Toasted Head Winery
  • Country/Region — United States, California, Central Valley, Yolo County, Dunnigan Hills
  • Type — Californian Chardonnay
  • Aroma — Apple, Pear, Lemon, Grapefruit, White Peach, Bourbon, Marzipan, Vanilla Spice
  • Grapes — Chardonnay
  • Taste — Pineapple, Mango, Coconut, Chard, Butter, Roasted Almonds, Butterscotch, Caramel, Charred Wood, Raisin
  • Alcohol Content — 14%
  • Sugar — Dry
  • Pairing — Pork Loin, Lamb Shank, Smoked Salmon, Spaghetti With Cajun Cream Sauce

Toasted Head Chardonnay has distinctive bourbon flavors paired with ripe pineapple reminiscent of butterscotch and white peach. With a smooth, rounded mouthfeel and a complexity rarely found in Californian white wines, Toasted Head Chardonnay of superb value. It has a perfect balance between oakiness and freshness. To put it simply, Toasted Head Chardonnay is compelling.

Overall Rating: 4.1

  • Incredible complexity
  • Barrel-fermented
  • Superbly balanced
  • Refreshing acidity
  • Aging potential
  • A Bit Too Sweet For Some

Tasting Notes

Like a Christmas mulled wine, Toasted Head Chardonnay is warm, spicy, and luscious. While the nose starts off fresh, with aromas of green and citrus fruit, the oakiness takes over. Afterward, in the mouth, things are a little clearer. Pineapple flavors blend with notes of coconut, chard, and roasted almonds, delivering a creamy palate. The finish is buttery and hints of butterscotch and caramel. Toasted Head Chardonnay, therefore, has an incredibly complex and delicious tasting profile.


Toasted Head Chardonnay wine has a deep golden color that opens into a semi-opaque center. With a few vigorous swirls, though, an equally deep lemon-straw color appears near the rim and complements the short and thick legs. Toasted Head Chardonnay begins the wine-drinking experience with an attractive appearance, reminiscent of its bold personality.


Toasted Head Chardonnay has a powerful nose. As soon as the bottle is uncorked, bright fragrances of apple and pear mingle with lemon, grapefruit, and white peach. Then, aromas of bourbon whiskey and sweet notes of marzipan and vanilla unearth, following the primary fruitiness. Oakiness from barrel-aging is intense, but it does not overwhelm as the green and citrus fruits offer balance. Regardless, the toastiness contributes to an impressive aromatic profile.


Toasted Head Chardonnay is so luscious in the mouth. A wealth of exotic fruits join the characteristic smokiness and drive the taste receptors mad. Pineapple and mango, in particular, interlace with charred wood and notes of coconut to form a unique, irresistible blend. But as the wine hits the back palate, chard, as well as roasted almonds, can be tasted, adding depth and structure. On top of that, the well-needed acidity is there, crisp and refreshing, and offsets the excessive ripeness.


As expected, Toasted Head Chardonnay has a long, creamy, and lingering finish. Tastes of caramel and butterscotch mingle with a raisin note as they create a gratifying conclusion. Consequently, the aftertaste is fantastic. It is soft, smooth, and straightforward, celebrating the oak and toasted nature.


Toasted Head Chardonnay is ‘one heck of a’ white wine. It is smoky, with juicy pineapple and mango flavors and a super creamy finish. What more could anyone want? Toasted Head Chardonnay is bold, powerful, and dynamic. It might be the best example of a barrel-fermented Chardonnay from California. Words are not enough to describe its unquestioned quality. You have to drink it to understand. Why not try a glass now?

Toasted Head Chardonnay Food Pairing

Since Toasted Head Chardonnay is barrel-fermented with an intense oaky nature, it would wise to pair it with pork loin roast or slow-cooked lamb shank. The combination of the juicy meat with the super-ripe tropical flavors of this Chardonnay is magical. Besides, who wouldn’t want a glass of a creamy pineapple-flavored white wine along with a mouthful of succulent lamb? Toasted Head Chardonnay is also incredible with smoked salmon. Medium-to-full-bodied Chardonnays blend delightfully with oily fish, and this one is no exception. A hearty portion of spaghetti with a Cajun cream sauce, directly from Louisiana, would elevate the whole cosmos of this Chardonnay, intriguing wine enthusiasts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Makes Toasted Head Chardonnay?

Toasted Head Chardonnay is a product of Toasted Head Winery, located in Modesto, California. Named for the traditional practice of toasting barrel heads to impart a toasted flavor to barrel-aged wines, Toasted Head began making hand-crafted wines in 1995. The vineyards lie in the Dunnigan Hills of Yolo County. The inspiration behind the fire-breathing bear label is a drawing created by artist Robert Shetterly. The wry humor of the bear and the commitment to superior wine-making captures the Toasted Head personality.

How Is Toasted Head Chardonnay Made?

The Chardonnay grapes are picked at night to preserve the freshness and purity of fruit flavors. In order words, the intent is to avoid oxidation and acidification. Afterward, they are gently de-stemmed and crushed. Crushing breaks the skins of the grapes and liberates a quantity of juice. But damaging the seeds should be avoided. Otherwise, they release bitter oils and tannin, and the wine might become astringent and bitter.

After crushing, the pressing of the grapes follows. Pressing separates the juice and the solid constituents of grapes. Seeds should remain undamaged once again. Then, that juice is clarified to preserve primary fruit flavor. At this point, the juice ‘sur lie’ does not go into stainless steel vessels to undergo cool fermentation but in a combination of new and used American, Eastern European, and French oak barrels.

Furthermore, ten percent of the wine goes through a secondary malolactic fermentation so that the wine increases in structure and retains its natural acidity. Each barrel is hand-stirred every two weeks to blend with the gross lees, responsible for said malolactic conversation, which imparts a creamy texture to the wine. When fermentation is over, the final wine is filtered from sediments and bottled.

Where Is Toasted Head Chardonnay Made?

Toasted Head Chardonnay is produced in Yolo County, California. It neighbors Napa County to the west, which is the center of the American wine industry, with its innovative wineries and the world’s oldest Zinfandel vines. While not as prestigious as Napa, Yolo County still produces high-quality wines. The region is a rural oasis where a large community of artists and craftspeople have gathered. On top of that, most California organic farmers are there too. The name Yolo is from the native Poewin Indian word “yo-loy,” meaning “abounding in the rushes,” but some locals insist it’s an acronym for “You Only Live Once.”

Most of the fruit used in the production of the wine comes from the Toasted Head estate in the Dunnigan Hills. The rest fruit is harvested from notable vineyards in Mendocino County. Mendocino County is large and diverse and includes the Anderson Valley, a grape source for aromatic white wines. In comparison to other California wine-making regions, Mendocino experiences warmer, drier conditions protected behind coastal hills. The wines here are full-bodied with soft tannins and often made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Syrah.

Generally, in California, Chardonnay plantings flourish among the cooler coastal zones. The Mediterranean climate with combinations of warm and cool influences from the Atlantic Ocean and fog favor a diverse range of inexpensive and premium wine styles. California wines also tend to be fruit-forward, with concentrated flavors and crisp acidity, ignoring unnecessary complexity and profound elaborateness.

How to Serve Toasted Head Chardonnay?

Toasted Head Chardonnay has to be chilled at fifty degrees Fahrenheit (ten degrees Celsius) before serving. If white wine is served too cold, flavors and aromas become muted. Too warm, and they become flat. On that note, take extra care and do not over-chill the wine. Many people believe the chiller the better when it comes to white. But do not go storing your bottles in the freezer. Over-chilling a wine blocks flavors and aromas. And you do not want that!

Place your bottle of Toasted Head Chardonnay for two hours maximum in the refrigerator. Afterward, uncork it and serve in standard-sized wine glasses. The surface of the glass provides the wine with essential aeration. As the air comes into contact with the wine surface, the delicate fragrances elevate.

Furthermore, Toasted Head Chardonnay needs to stay cool to be enjoyable. To do this, place the wine in an ice bucket or wine cooler. The bucket should be filled three-quarters full with equal quantities of ice and water so that iced water surrounds the bottle. The water is then able to transfer the heat from the bottle to melt the ice. Air acts as an insulator, and the bottle chills.

How Much Does Toasted Head Chardonnay Cost?

Toasted Head Chardonnay has an average price-point. It may not be the most expensive Chardonnay on the market, but it still commands a higher price than most Californian white wines. Toasted Head Chardonnay prices range from $12 to $15 per 750ml bottle, depending on the vintage and vendor. Therefore, consumers can get this high-quality bottling at a bargain price.

How Long Does Toasted Head Chardonnay Last?

Chardonnays are suitable for bottle aging, unlike most white wines. They usually have a high alcohol concentration and enough structure to withstand maturation. After successfully maturing, they should have developed aromas and flavors of almond, hazelnut, dried apricot, and marmalade. Besides, Toasted Head Chardonnay has undergone barrel-fermentation and oak aging before bottling. That makes it even friendlier to long-term storage.

The wine should be sealed with a cork and stored in an environment with room temperatures that do not fluctuate (fifty to sixty degrees Fahrenheit or ten to fifteen Celsius) and a portion of humidity. Direct sunlight or artificial light should be avoided as they may damage the wine and make it faulty. Odors also have to be kept at bay, as they might find their way inside the bottle and give unpleasant aromas and flavors, like vinegar (or even sometimes animal sweat!).

How Many Calories Does Toasted Head Chardonnay Have?

Toasted Head Chardonnay is a suitable dietary choice. There are about 22 calories in 1 fluid ounce of the beverage, equating to a total of 120 calories per serving. The calorie breakdown is 0 grams of fats, 11 grams of sodium, 0 grams of total carbohydrate, 0 grams of protein, and 0 grams of total sugars. Consequently, consumers are safe when enjoying this beverage. That said, Toasted Head Chardonnay calories might be low but the sodium concentration is relatively high. As such, wine fans need to be aware that consuming too much Toasted Head Chardonnay might be an issue. Toasted Head Chardonnay alcohol content is high at 14% per 750ml bottle. So, be aware and take extra care if driving!


Toasted Head Chardonnay has distinctive bourbon flavors paired with ripe pineapple reminiscent of butterscotch and white peach. With a smooth, rounded mouthfeel and a complexity rarely found in Californian white wines, Toasted Head Chardonnay of superb value. It has a perfect balance between oakiness and freshness. To put it simply, Toasted Head Chardonnay is compelling.

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