Monday, July 27, 2020

RRV Chardonnay At $18

California wine négociant Cameron Hughes owns no vineyards and has no official winery.  He sniffs out good wine which has already been produced by established makers, then buys it on the down low with an agreement not to reveal the source.  He then sells the wine online through his wine club - he calls it a wineocracy - bringing top-shelf wines to lower-shelf wallets.  Hughes says he keeps prices low by removing the middleman, the distributor and retailer through which store-bought wines must pass.

Lot 718 Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2018

As usual, Hughes is tight-lipped about where this wine was grown and made, except to say that it came from "one of the region's storied estates, with almost a century of family history."  He goes on to praise the region, citing the Russian River Valley's cool ocean breezes and fog, which help the grapes mature well. "Anchored by a rare type of soil formed by an ancient sandstone seabed," he says, "there's just no place quite like it."  Hughes says Lot 718 is a "classic Russian River Valley Chard," only it sells for a mere $18.  Alcohol sits at 13.5% abv.

This Chardonnay is fairly lean, by old California standards.  There is a touch of oak on the nose, but the citrus and stone fruit stay in the spotlight.  The palate shows a bit more oak, but it does not overpower the profile.  Acidity is bright enough to make me order oysters on the half shell for takeout tonight.  The finish is long and vibrant, with pears and tangerine persisting.

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