I loved listening to the different perspectives on the California Chardonnay podcasts (http://www.guildpodcast.com, if you haven't listened!), and it got me thinking about my own preferences and the availability of different styles.
For example, I can't believe that just today was the first I'd tried Stony Hill from Napa. They blew me away. Other favorites include Sandhi and Hanzell. What are your favorites (and why)?
I'm becoming a fan of Antica Napa Valley Chardonnay, just had it recently. Higher altitude grapes. No full Malo, or too much oak. Med+ acid. Absolutely delicious!!
Ceritas and Matthiasson.
I'm a huge fan of the Lioco wines. They all hail from single vineyards and don't see oak. All native yeast fermentation. Exceptionally food friendly. Brewer Clifton Sweeney Canyon is a really interesting one too...crunchy style (diatomaceous earth and ungrafted vines) with just a kiss of oak. The florality in that wine is just gorgeous.
Speaking of the classic big California style, obviously Peter Michael and Aubert are at the top of the heap. I'm also a big fan of the Chateau Boswell Chardonnays. At the other end, I agree with LIOCO, Brewer-Clifton and would add Hirsch, Peay and Failla to the group.
Lioco is gorgeous, but my favorite has to be Mount Eden Estate. Its just beautiful.
John Raytek took over the winemaking at Lioco as of 2011. Very high praise for him; I'm sure the new vintages are an improvement.
I echo Boswell. Their Chards are something else.
Any of the DuMol chardonnays, with the "Chloe" and "Isobel" bottlings being my favorites.
Ceritas for sure!
Love Mt. Eden! Varner is another favorite from Sta. Cruz Mtns.
LIOCO (Raytek may be convincing those guys to break some of their rules...keep on eye on the new vintages), Littorai, Mt Eden, Peay, Failla, Mt Eden
Fantesca Chardonnay - one of the only white wines that Heidi Barrett makes. She has been on board as their winemaker since 2005 I believe. Simply a delicious and very polished California Chardonnay.
Windy Oaks, River Marie, Arnot-Roberts
I'll second Hanzell, Mayacamas, and Lioco, and add Stonestreet "Upper Barn". A note: Heidi Barrett took over Fantesca in 08 or 09