Showing posts with label Chardonnay. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chardonnay. Show all posts

Monday, May 6, 2024

Don't Call This Chardonnay Cheap - Call It Affordable

Grocery chain Trader Joe's is a place you learn to love very quickly. Nice prices on things like wine, beer, cheese and nuts are fine, but the fact that the product is of high quality is a real bonus.

TJ's carries wines from a variety of producers, but the 2023 Trader Joe's Coastal Chardonnay is reportedly made by Castoro Cellars in the Paso Robles town of Templeton. Central Coast grapes went into the private label wine, which is unoaked. Alcohol is reasonable at 13$ abv and it sells at Trader Joe's for a bit less than $7. 

This wine has more of a yellow tint than I would expect from an unoaked Chardonnay. The nose is clean, though. Brilliant aromas of flowers, pears, peaches and apples come through with nary a trace of wood aging. The palate is rich and full, with fruit flavors dominating. Acidity is fresh and zippy, and nearly razor sharp. The fruit lasts on the finish and the wine is a perfect match for seafood, white sauce pasta or chicken.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Israeli Wines For Passover

If you are planning on picking up some wines for Passover, you probably already know about Golan Heights Winery, one of Israel's premier producers. 

The 2020 Yarden Cabernet Sauvignon is a varietal wine made from grapes grown in the cool, high altitude, rocky soil of the Golan Heights in Galilee. Head winemaker Victor Schoenfeld feels that this wine is a great addition to your Passover meal.

The wine was aged in French oak for 18 months. It carries alcohol at 14.5% abv and retails for $50. I was reminded of the Cabs from Paso Robles, with their rambunctious nature and chalky mouthfeel. 

This kosher wine, the 38th vintage of the label, is a dark wine, with an aroma profile that seems to match. The nose has a tarry sense to it, with notes of cedar, cigars and clove buoyed along by the blackberry and cassis fruit smells. The palate is dark, too, with blue and black fruit, clove and pepper and oak notes providing complexity. The acidity is fresh and the tannic grip is firm. It will pair well with meat dishes and provide a pleasant experience as a sipper, if you wish. 

The 2022 Yarden Chardonnay also hails from the hills of Galilee. The wine aged for seven months in oak and underwent partial malolactic fermentation to give it a complex presentation. Alcohol is a tad lofty for a white wine at 14% abv. The retail price is $28. 

This wine has a remarkable fruit profile on the nose, with lemon aromas being predominant. The is a slight herbal note along with a very reasonable amount of oak spice. The barrel aging, which was only seven months, comes on most noticeably on the palate, but the wood is used to great effect. 

The Yarden sparkler was made from 73% Chardonnay and 27% Pinot Noir grapes, fermented in the bottle in the traditional method. Alcohol is a comfortable 12% abv and it retails for $52.

The 2017 vintage of the Yarden Galilee Brut Rosé has a golden, light copper hue in the glass. Bubbles are plentiful on the pour, but don't look away. They dissipate quickly. The nose brings mineral aromas along with stone fruit and just a hint of toast. The palate shows a yeasty side with lemon and apricot fruit. The acidity is refreshing. As with most sparkling wines, it will pair with everything. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

White Tuscan Wine Two Ways

If you have never heard of the Pomino Bianco DOC in Italy's Tuscany region, you should get acquainted now. Then you'll be ready for spring and summer with a white wine that'll knock everyone's socks off. Of course, if the weather is warm enough, they may be off already.

The two wines I was given the opportunity to sample are from Frescobaldi. They note that the Pomino Bianco DOC is one of the areas of Tuscany most suited to white wine production. Altitudes reach 2300 feet up against the Apennine Mountains, and those lofty vines produce highly refined and elegant white wine blends.

The Frescobaldi 2022 Pomino Bianco is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, with splashes of the region's complimentary grapes. The wine was aged partly in oak, partly in steel, which allows complexity while maintaining freshness. 

The 2022 vintage was a long one, with an early budbreak and summertime temperatures starting in May. Alcohol sits at 12.5% abv and the retail sticker reads $21. 

This wine has a light golden tint to it. The nose is fully aromatic with minerals, white fruit and a salinity that runs through the entire experience. The palate is chock full of minerals, too, along with green apple and light citrus notes. The acidity is fresh and lively while a slight trace of oak adds depth. The finish is medium long and highlights the grapefruit aspect of the palate. 

The Frescobaldi Benefizio 2021 Pomino Bianco Riserva is a Chardonnay that was aged completely in French oak barrels. When it was first produced, in 1973, it was the first white wine in Italy to be fermented and aged in barriques. The wood is 50% new and 50% second use. Alcohol is a bit higher than the previous wine, clocking in at 13.5% abv. The list price is $35.

This wine also has a nice yellow tint and a nose that shows the restrained use of oak. The aromas also have an earthy salinity about them, with a fruity undercurrent draped in apple, almond and dried apricot notes. On the palate, there is a more noticeable oak effect, but still within reason. The mouthfeel is full, while the acidity is bracing. It is a savory wine which brings the fruit almost apologetically. Delicious, and a great match for dishes from seafood to chicken to pork. Anything with a creamy sauce will pair beautifully with the Benefizio Riserva. 

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Monday, March 4, 2024

Bubbles From Burgundy

You likely know that Crémant is a French sparkling wine made in exactly the same way that Champagne is made, only in a region other than Champagne. That's not the only difference, though. Crémant also often utilizes different grapes than those favored in Champagne: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. 

A Crémant from Alsace may use Pinot Blanc, while one made in the Loire Valley may use Chenin Blanc and one from Burgundy may use Gamay. Here, though, is a Burgundian Crémant which relies on the tried and true grapes of Champagne.

The Albert Bichot Crémant  de Bourgogne Brut Reserve has a blend of 60% Chardonnay grapes and 40% Pinot Noir. The fruit was grown in Beaune, in the areas of Châtillonnais, Côte Chalonnaise & Mâconnais. 

Fifteen percent of the cuvée was aged for six months in oak and the remainder in stainless steel tanks. That’s the standard for reserve sparkling wines at Bichot. The regular stuff only needs 10% of the cuvée aged in wood. After the tank or barrel aging, the wine rests for another 18 to 20 months in the bottle. Alcohol sits at a very Champagne-like 12.5%, but it sells for around $25.

This wine offers plenty of bubbles, which dissipate quickly. The golden wine that remains has aromas of various citrus fruits, dried apricots, minerality and yeasty notes. The palate is savory and toasty, with a good level of acidity. The finish is lengthy, which is a good thing since is tastes so good. 

Monday, February 12, 2024

Pour Some Chardonnay On My Popcorn

California Chardonnay- big, bombastic white wines full of oak and all that implies - is a style many wine drinkers have been shying away from in recent years.  The swing toward unoaked - naked, if you will - Chardonnays which emphasize the flavor of the fruit and the effect of the earth has left many old-line California Chardonnays holding the oak.

I'll admit: I love the purity and minerality expressed in an unoaked or low-oaked Chardonnay.  Burgundy found long ago how much was to be gained by letting the terroir do the talking.  There are times, though, when you want a Chardonnay to get all hedonistic on you.  For me, that's in the wintertime.

This bottle of 2021 Edna Valley Buttery Chardonnay (they put the hedonism right on the label) somehow managed to survive the holiday season, which is when I most appreciate a good, oaky, buttery Chardonnay. 

The winery folks say this wine is a "bright and creamy expression of California's Central Coast," and their location in San Luis Obispo County would support that. The label, however, shows an appellation of "California," so there are likely some grapes from outside their estate included. Alcohol tips 14.3% abv and the price is listed on the website at $15. I found mine at a grocery store sale for about half that. 

This wine colors up straw-gold in the glass. The nose, which I was expecting to offer aromas of a movie theater snack bar, actually shows more fruit than butter or oak. Meyer lemon and tangerine are most noticeable, along with a slightly savory salinity. On the palate, that's where the butter is. Citrus flavors mingle with the sweet oak spice. Although there is a lot of that spice, the oak treatment is handled extremely well. The acidity is fresh and invigorating, too, despite the creaminess of the wine. For pairing, think chicken in an alfredo sauce or a scampi. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Value Wine When Price Is On The Line

Line 39 Wines lies, not unexpectedly, near the 39th parallel which runs through Lake County, California. They operate under the umbrella of St. Helena-based Cecchetti Wine Company

I discovered Line 39 when a friend called one day, excitedly telling me that their Cabernet Sauvignon was on sale at a wine shop we both frequented. "This wine is good," he said, "and it’s a great value because it's dirt cheap!" Well, good wine dirt cheap is the very definition of a value, is it not? 

I rushed to the wine shop and bought a bottle, then returned the next day to buy another. In the months that ensued, I tried a half dozen different varieties from Line 39, all of which were good values.

The 2021 Line 39 California Chardonnay is a tad more expensive than it was a decade ago, but it is just as good. Winemaker Alyssa Reynolds crafts this wine, which bears the California appellation. Alcohol rests at 13.5% abv and the wine sells in most places for $10 or less.

The pale straw-colored wine smells sweet from fruit and oak. There are notes of citrus, apple and pear on the nose, along with a distinct floral component. On the palate, fruit again leads the way. Oak spice plays an important role, although it is not overdone. Acidity is quite fresh and the finish is long and pleasant. This wine will pair very well with a buttery pasta dish or shellfish. 

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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

New Vintages From Sonoma-Cutrer: The Cutrer Chardonnay

From the heart of the Russian River Valley, Sonoma-Cutrer is celebrating the release of three new vintages of some of their most popular wines. Newly bottled are the 2022 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, the 2021 The Cutrer Chardonnay and the 2021 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. 

The celebration of new vintages come at a time when Sonoma-Cutrer is being acquired by Duckhorn for $400 million. Maybe they’re popping the cork on some sparkling wine in addition to these wines. 

For the first time in its four-plus decade history, Sonoma-Cutrer features an all-female team led by their newest and first female Director of Winemaking Cara Morrison, and Senior Winemaker Zidanelia Arcidiacono. The team follows the company line of combining Burgundian tradition with Californian innovation, always making sure to respect the terroir and the people of Sonoma County.

The Sonoma-Cutrer The Cutrer Chardonnay shows a pale yellow color in the glass. The nose is heavily laced with oak spice, vanilla and butter on top of the beautiful citrus, peach and pear display. On the palate, the fruit is rich and ripe while the oak is also quite pronounced. I lean towards oakier Chardonnays over the holidays, for some reason. This one hits me just right in that respect while bringing a zingy acidity to the full mouthfeel. It is gorgeous. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

New Vintages From Sonoma-Cutrer: Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

From the heart of the Russian River Valley, Sonoma-Cutrer is celebrating the release of three new vintages of some of their most popular wines. Newly bottled are the 2022 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, the 2021 The Cutrer Chardonnay and the 2021 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. 

For the first time in its four-plus decade history, Sonoma-Cutrer features an all-female team led by their newest and first female Director of Winemaking Cara Morrison, and Senior Winemaker Zidanelia Arcidiacono. The team follows the company line of combining Burgundian tradition with Californian innovation, always making sure to respect the terroir and the people of Sonoma County.

The 2022 Sonoma-Cutrer Sonoma Coast Chardonnay draws fruit from four of the winery's estate vineyards plus some from trusted local growers. All these sites benefit from the coastal fog, the afternoon breezes and the day-to-night temperature swing. The grapes were whole cluster pressed and the juice flowed into tanks, then the wine was vinified in mostly French oak barrels. That is where aging took place over eight months, in a mix of new, one-year-old and neutral wood. There was full malolactic fermentation with the Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. Alcohol sits at 13.9% abv and the retail price is $25.

This wine has a lovely yellow tint. The nose is full of Meyer lemon, apricot and buttery vanilla. The palate shows more fruit than oak, which is surprising given the color and aroma. Lemon, lime, golden apple and pear dominate the flavor package, with subtle oak spice and vanilla notes. The acidity is fine and the finish is long. It is a beautiful Chardonnay. 

Monday, November 27, 2023

Stolpman L'Avion Roussanne - So Good

On visits to Santa Barbara County wine country, I always like to come home with a bottle of something special. The most recent excursion took me to Stolpman Vineyards' tasting room in Los Olivos, a little bit northwest of Santa Barbara. There was a special bottle there that I could not resist.

The 2020 L'Avion Roussanne comes from Stolpman Vineyards, Ballard Canyon, Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County. The wine is made from 93% Roussanne grapes and 7% Chardonnay. The Chardonnay was harvested in August, while the Roussanne wasn't taken until October. The Stolpman crew says the Roussanne grapes like to get a good tan, turning a rust color, which is where the name Roussanne comes from.

If you are wondering where the name "L'Avion" came from for this wine, here is how the folks at Stolpman explain it:

"In the late 1930s, teenage cattle rancher Anchor Johnson and his buddies landed their rickety plane down the straight chute where Roussanne is now planted.  The young men would park the plane under the oak tree at the end of the dirt strip.  Roussanne rows now run lengthwise along the old runway, creating the inspiration for the lanes on the L’Avion label."

The Roussanne was vinified in new French oak while the Chardonnay saw neutral French oak. The blend was aged in French oak, half new, half used, for a total of 19 months barrel aging. This wine has 13% alcohol, which is pretty low by California standards, and it cost about $40 at the winery's Los Olivos tasting room. 

This wine has a rich, golden color. The nose offers a bounty of nice things. Lemons, apricots, almonds and vanilla, are all wrapped up in buttery goodness. The palate is earthy, nutty and fruity all at once. If there were such a thing as an "old-line California Roussanne," this would be it. The acidity is fresh and the finish long, with a good streak of salinity staying after the sip. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Napa Legends Led To This Chardonnay

The Charles Krug Winery has been in the Napa Valley for about as long as winemaking has been there. The winery was founded in 1861 by Mr. Charles Krug, a visionary who is seen as the father of Napa Valley winemaking. The Mondavi family purchased the outfit in 1943 and still own it today.

The grapes for the 2022 Krug Carneros Chardonnay were grown in the Peter Mondavi Sr. family estates and turned into liquid magic by winemaker Stacy Clark. The wine was aged on the lees (in contact with the spent yeast cells) and was fermented in about half oak, half steel. Alcohol hits 14.3% abv and the retail price is $26.

This wine has a faint yellow tint in the glass. The nose gives off lemon notes with some minerality and a hint of orange peel and salinity. The palate shows off a lovely array of citrus flavors and a racy acidity that will make food pairing easy. This is a delightful wine, and it offers a lot for the price. 

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Monday, October 23, 2023

Is A Cheap Chardonnay A Bargain?

Looking for a bargain in the wine aisle can be a daunting experience. Is a cheap wine necessarily a bargain? Not by a long shot. If you are not paying a lot for a bad wine, you got a good price, but at a cost. Good deals abound, though. It just takes a little discerning shopping. 

The 2021 Winemakers Selection Classic Series Chardonnay is cheap, real cheap. My expectations were not high while unscrewing the cap. But, in the interest of investigative reporting, I did unscrew and poured a glass.

On both the front and back labels of the bottle there are references to the fact that the wine was "California made," which is an unusual expression to find on a wine label. California is not given as an appellation, although the state is listed on the website as the "origin" of the wine. The verbal dancing makes me wonder where the grapes were grown. Alcohol sits at 13.5% abv and the wine costs somewhere around $5. 

This wine has a nice golden color. It smells fruity, with lots of citrus, pear and peach notes showing. The nose also has a significant amount of oak on it. The palate bears out the oak treatment, with a hefty dose of wood. If that is not in your wheelhouse, you might want to steer clear. If oak is your jam, then this is a great bargain for you.

Monday, September 25, 2023

A Bargain Chardonnay From Santa Barbara County

Magistrate Wines are a bargain brand, a supermarket wine. It is available, usually, for less than $10 and the company has a small line of wines - a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignons from Napa Valley, Sonoma County and Alexander Valley, a Paso Robles Merlot, a Lodi Zinfandel and a Santa Barbara County Chardonnay.

Santa Barbara County is, I think, an unheralded wine region. It does not get the same sort of play that Napa Valley or Burgundy gets, but the wines from that large AVA are typically excellent. They are also nearly always a tad expensive, so it was with great curiosity that I plucked the bottle of white wine from the bottom shelf at Walmart. 

One of Magistrate's winemakers, Kip Lorenzetti, calls the company's creations "unpretentious and elegant." He has hit the nail on the head, at least for the Chardonnay.

There is little information on specifics available, but the label tells us that the grapes are from Santa Barbara County and the alcohol level sits at 13.5% abv. It cost about $5. There is an effect of oak.

This yellow wine has a somewhat muted nose of citrus, minerals and apricots, with just a hint of vanilla. The palate is far more expressive, showing a beautiful array of lemons, limes, tangerines and green apples. The oak treatment is nicely done, spicy but not over-the-top buttery. The label had me hoping that the wine inside the bottle would be good, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was much better than good. This wine is not simply inexpensive - it's a bargain.

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Another Bargain Chardonnay

The Whole Foods Market site shows a variety of wines by Three Wishes - Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and a blend of Colombard and Pinot Grigio. That last one sounds interesting enough that I wish I had found it when I bought the Chardonnay. Oops, there goes one of my three wishes.

The product page shows, in addition to wine, a grain-free, gluten-free breakfast cereal under the Three Wishes name. I was not so interested in the cereal, but the wine really was pretty good, especially for one that cost only $4. There is not a lot of information out there on Three Wishes. I can tell you that the back label shows it as an "American Chardonnay," which is not something I've ever run across on a wine that is apparently from California. The non-vintage wine runs alcohol at 12.5% abv.

This wine has a golden hue in the glass. It smells quite nice, with Meyer lemon, cantaloupe, minerals and a heavy wash of apricot nectar. The palate is crisp and not as oaky as I would have expected. The effect of the barrel aging is noticeable, but not overdone. The other Three Wishes varieties are in the same price range. If you have to buy lots of bottles for a party or meeting, Three Wishes would seem like a good choice.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Chardonnay From Spain At A Bargain Price

I thought I would do a little bargain hunting and spied a Spanish Chardonnay on the bottom shelf. This was a day after Spain defeated England to win the Women's World Cup, so I thought I would celebrate for them with a wine from España.

Spain does not make me think of Chardonnay. Verdejo, yes. Albariño, absolutely. Hondarrabi Zuri, sure, why not? Chardonnay is more in line with France, or California, for me. But I am always up for something new, even if it is something old from an unexpected place.

The Don Simon Chardonnay is produced by the Carrion company, run by Jose Garcia Carrion. The Chardonnay grapes for this wine were grown in Spain's La Mancha region, reported to be the largest vineyard in the world. It is possible that Google lost the meaning of that phrase in translation, I suppose. Anyway, Carrion is reputedly the largest wine producer in Europe. 

The wine - apparently non-vintage - was fermented in stainless steel and separated from the lees. Aging took place in oak, but for only three months. Alcohol rests low for this Chardonnay, at 11.5% abv, and the price was only $5 at my local Whole Foods Market. I'll bet you didn’t think you could get a $5 wine at Whole Foods. I know I didn't. 

This wine has a pretty golden straw color to it. Peach aromas arrive first on the nose, with mineral, apricot and cantaloupe notes following. Sweet oak spice adds another dimension, but it stays in the background. The palate brings some very nice stone fruit, apricot and citrus to the sip. Acidity is fairly fresh and the wine tastes crisp and clean. The finish is long and pleasant. You can pair this wine easily with seafood or salad. It won't make you forget about the Santa Maria Valley or white Burgundy, but for $5, it is a nice bargain. 

Monday, August 14, 2023

Organic Chardonnay From Argentina

Mack and Schühle are Miami-based importers who find great wine and pass it along at a fair price. They produce wine in Italy and Spain and distribute other wines globally.

They also distribute Art of Earth, a global vintner which makes wine from organic vineyards the world over. Their line includes bottling from Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Argentina. They claim their wines are 'true to their origins and winemaking traditions without the use of pesticides or herbicides.'

The organic grapes for the 2022 Art of Earth Chardonnay were grown in Argentina's central-east valley of Mendoza. Winemaker David Gargantini vinified the wine in steel, so it not not oak aged and it allows the true nature of the fruit to shine. Alcohol sits at 12.5% abv and the retail price is only $12.

This wine has a beautiful, yellow-gold hue. The nose is clean and fresh smelling, with floral notes joined by citrus, mineral and a hint of pineapple. The palate brings a crisp assortment of flavors - lemon, peach, pear - in a mineral-laden scene which is graced with a fresh acidity. 

Friday, June 23, 2023

Sonoma-Cutrer's Salute To Growing Partner Dutton Ranch

Sonoma-Cutrer Director of Winemaking Cara Morrison says the idea for this year's Winemaker's Release series was to kick it off with a salute to longtime growing partner Dutton Ranch. That means the spotlight falls on the 2021 Dutton Ranch Chardonnay.

Members of the Dutton family have been working the land in Sonoma County since the 1880s, about a hundred years longer than the winery has been standing. Today, the family is sustainably farming about 1,200 acres of wine grapes in the Russian River Valley, Green Valley, and Sonoma Coast appellations. The grapes for the 2021 Sonoma-Cutrer Winemaker's Release Dutton Ranch Chardonnay came from the RRV - the Gerboth and Alpers vineyards - and were estate bottled at the winery.

The grapes were whole-cluster pressed and the wine was fermented in a mix of new and used French oak barrels, then aged in them on the lees for ten months. The wine underwent full malolactic fermentation, for the creamy mouthfeel. Winemaker Mick Schroeter puts his signature on the back label. The wine carries alcohol at 14.2% abv and retails for $40.  

This wine has a clean looking greenish gold tint to it. The nose is beautiful, with notes of ripe peaches and nectarines along with some buttered bread. There is a citrus angle, too, with plenty of minerality. The citrus leads the way on the palate and there is a healthy dose of fresh acidity to go along with it. The buttery note lingers on the finish, which is lengthy and satisfying. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Beautiful Chardonnay In A Can

Simply Cutrer is the entry into the world of canned wine for Sonoma-Cutrer. It is, quite simply, California Chardonnay in a can. It tastes just as good as the Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay you know and love in a bottle, but it is way more convenient. The wine carries an alcohol level of 13.9% abv and it retails at $20 for a four-pack of 250ml cans. Sonoma-Cutrer's Chardonnay Winemaker Cara Morrison says "Simply Cutrer was made with summer sipping in mind."

This pale golden wine has a beautiful nose which offers honeydew, peaches and citrus aromas. There is also evidence of the oak treatment, with vanilla and caramel notes playing lightly into the package. On the palate it is a full mouthfeel, rich and creamy. The oak spice comes through, but again does not get in the way of the fruit. Acidity is fresh and lively, enough so that shrimp or lobster can be on the menu - or any fish dish, really, especially in a creamy sauce.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Toasty Chardonnay From Sonoma Coast

La Crema's 2021 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay hails from one of Sonoma County's biggest AVAs. The Sonoma Coast ranges from the San Pablo Bay in the south all the way to Mendocino County to the north. Its defining feature is the rugged coastline it runs along, and its cool climate. That comes thanks to the fog which keeps summer temperatures at bay. Cool climate Chardonnay is a treat, one that makes the Sonoma Coast a prime locale for growing Chardonnay grapes.

2021 was an excellent growing season, according to the folks at La Crema. They say the winter was relatively dry and the spring was quite cold. The ripening of the grapes were urged along by a hot spell in August. The grapes were sourced from a handful of La Crema's estate vineyards - Laughlin, Saralees, Fluton, KelliAnn, Carneros Hills West, Carneros Hills East, Piner and Durell among them.

The wine was aged for six months in barrels, on the lees and after malolactic fermentation. Three-quarters of the wood was French and a quarter was American oak. Seventeen percent of it was new. Alcohol sits at 13.5% abv and the retail price tag reads $23.

The straw colored wine offers a bountiful nose, full of floral notes, citrus, stone fruit and a decent helping of oak spice. The mouthfeel is full and creamy, yet with an acidity that is just short of racy. The fruity palate is draped with enough oak so that you know it's there, but not so much that it is a bother. La Crema has a nice sipping Chardonnay here. 

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Monday, May 8, 2023

Ode To Burgundy Or Tip Of Hat To Old Cali?

The grapes for the 2021 J. Lohr Arroyo Seco Chardonnay were sustainably grown in the gravelly soil of the Arroyo Seco AVA in Monterey County. J. Lohr's white wine specialist, Kristen Barnhisel says that most of the blend for this full varietal wine are Dijon clone 76 grapes. There are some of the Mt. Eden clone, which gives us the Meyer lemon notes. Clone 17 brings a creamy floral aspect while clones 95 and 96 have stone fruit in store.

Barnhisel says that "the 2021 growing season in the Arroyo Seco was characterized by the coolest spring and summer in a decade. The cool weather during the summer provided a slow and even ripening of the grapes, while the afternoon winds helped to keep the fruit healthy until harvest." The wine was fermented in oak and aged there as well, for 14 months. Nearly half of the French oak was new. Alcohol hits 14.5% abv and the retail price is $25.

The J. Lohr people call this wine their "Ode to Burgundy.," but I feel that this wine wants to be noticed. The pretty yellow juice offers up a nose of Meyer lemons, peaches and nectarines with a healthy dollop of oak present. The bouquet also contains a bit of vanilla and butter. The palate is loaded with oak effect, but the citrus and stone fruit still poke through. Acidity is refreshing, if just a tad flabby. It is an enjoyable wine, particularly if you have a fondness for the old Cali style of Chardonnay. 

Friday, April 21, 2023

Israeli White Wine With Great Nose, Palate And Acidity

The Sinai White M Series 2021 from Israel's Psâgot winery is made from 76% Gewürztraminer grapes, 10% Viognier, 7% Chardonnay and 7% Sauvignon Blanc, all grown in the northern part of the Jerusalem Mountains.

Alcohol tips only 13% abv, retails is $25 and winemaker Sam Soroka attests that the wine is kosher for Passover and mevushal. 

The floral and fruity nose is as sweet as could be hoped for, while the palate offers fleshy peach, pear and melon flavors with a nice acidity that begs for food pairing. I had mine with a delicious white pizza, and it was perfect.