Deep gold color but bright and lovely. Compact smells and flavors--more brioche than buttered toast (sweet, rich buttered toast?) I generally don't like big, buttery Chardonnays, but if this wine personifies the overoaked style, then I am a fan. The oak (412 French oak barrels, according to the label) is integrated beautifully into very special fruit grown on the Chalone Estate. Subtle, complex, long finish. Mature Chardonnay at its best.
The current vintage of Chalone Estate Chardonnay sells for about $30. That's a bit high for my budget, but if you know that you can keep the wine for 8 to 10 years or longer and expect improvement rather than deterioration, that price is not unreasonable.